A furious mum has hit out at “cruel” parents for taunting her 11-year-old daughter for wearing a James Bond-style suit to her school prom.
Mischa Parker chose to wear a smart black blazer, trousers and a bow tie to celebrate the occasion with her friends at Fountain Primary School.
We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below
‘Really disgusting’ behaviour
The 11-year-old was subjected to mockery by some parents chaperoning on the prom night, who laughed at her outfit of choice and cruelly branded her “suit girl”.
The youngster was so upset by the taunts she called her mum Tamara Auty, 33, and asked if she could be picked up early from the party.
Ms Auty, from Morley, Leeds, described the behaviour from other parents as “disgusting” and said adults should know better.
She said: “I think it was an attack on her individuality. I work in mental health myself, I just think it was really disgusting.
"When I was 11 I had no idea who I was, but Mischa has always known who she is and what she likes.
"I’d taken her shopping the day before and she was really excited trying it on. She was a bit nervous hoping nobody laughed at her.
"I just think that children should be allowed to express themselves - why should my daughter be made to feel bad about the way she likes to dress? Why try and knock a child down for that?”
Ms Auty said she had taken her daughter, along with her mum and brother Thomas, 9, shopping to help her pick out an outfit for her prom.
She explained that her daughter is “not a girly girl”, and hates wearing dresses, so she wound up looking in the boys’ section where she picked out a dickie bow.
Her family described her suit of choice as “absolutely amazing and stylish” and Mischa began to get excited about celebrating finishing primary school the following day after sorting her outfit.
Mischa’s mum straightened her hair for her and put on some mascara, and painted her nails black to complete the look.
Despite being a little nervous, Ms Auty said her daughter “felt really good” and loved her suit.
Her outfit was a hit among her friends too, who showered Mischa with compliments and told her she looked gorgeous.
‘Celebrate who you are’
The initial excitement over the event quickly gave way to sadness after Ms Auty received an upsetting text from a daughter just a couple of hours after dropping her, asking if she could be picked up early.
The mum-of-two explained: “Mischa normally is not very cuddly, doesn’t really show emotion, doesn’t really get upset easily. She's just quite a strong character
"When I got to prom I cuddled her and she just burst into tears and said 'I need to get out of here'.
"Some of the adults who had stayed at prom called her 'suit girl' and sniggered.
"Every time she was walking past these parents she could hear them commenting and laughing.
"She said 'do you think I should change my fashion?' as she normally wears more boys gendered clothing like hoodies and baggy trousers. I said no, you be who you are."
Ms Auty want to raise awareness of what happened to her daughter in a bid to prevent other children being hurt in the future, and encourages youngsters to celebrate who they are.
She said: "I work with people in crisis, I see people who are affected by bullying and I just think it's disgusting, especially with adults who know better. You expect it to be more the kids.
"If she had gone to prom in a dress she would've been unconformable, why should she not be happy? I think she’s brave for being who she is.
“Be who you are and celebrate who you are, don't be torn down for standing out."
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.