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This high school swimmer was disqualified after winning because of *what*?


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Breckynn Willis (pictured at the top right), a student and swimmer at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, was celebrating a win at a local swim meet when she got some unnerving news: She was disqualified from the race for showing too much skin. You see, officials cited a modesty rule, claiming that Breckynn's swimsuit showed off too much of her backside. The worst part? Breckynn was wearing a school-issued swimsuit, and if you've ever tried on bathing suits with your besties, you know that the way a style fits depends a lot on a person's body type. So, Breckynn didn't get to choose her swimsuit and was basically being punished for her body.

This case is frustrating for a lot of reasons, and some people think that both sexism and racism played a role. "All of these girls are all wearing suits that are cut the same way,” said Lauren Langford, a swim coach who works near Breckynn's high school. “And the only girl who gets disqualified is a mixed-race girl with rounder, curvier features.” Breckynn's mother, Meagan Kowatch said, "It's sexual harassment. It shouldn't have any place on the pool deck."

Although Breckynn is likely and understandably still upset about the disqualification, the decision was reversed. Breckynn's school district supported her, and after much discussion, the Alaska School Activities Association overturned the ruling. While justice was served in Breckynn's case, the incident serves as a wakeup call. Many school boards have similar "modesty" rules on the books, and if that's the case, what happened to Breckynn can happen to you, a teammate or a friend. The only way to prevent it is to have an open and constructive discussion about what constitutes "modesty" and how we can ensure that no one is ever unfairly judged. 

Do you think modesty rules are fair? Sound off in the comments!


by Alex W. | 9/14/2019