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Principal meant no offense by alleged 'leggings make girls over size 2 look fat' remark

Stratford Principal Heather Taylor reportedly said girls over a size 2 look fat in leggings (File / Berkeley County School District / MGN)

Stratford High School's principal said Thursday she didn't mean to "hurt or offend" any students with controversial comments she reportedly made during an assembly earlier in the week, which some have construed as body shaming.

In a statement distributed by the Berkeley County School District, Stratford Principal Heather Taylor said she has met with students to address a comment she made during a 10th-grade assembly on Tuesday, and to assure the students she is "one of their biggest fans and invested in their success."

Taylor did not specify what she said in the assembly, but multiple social media posts and an audio recording provided to ABC News 4 indicate Taylor said girls "look fat" in leggings unless they're a size 0 or size 2.

In the recording, a woman alleged to be Principal Taylor is stressing to female students that leggings are not meant to be worn as pants alone, and that they "show everything" when worn that way.

“(Leggings are) meant to wear underneath a long shirt that covers your heiny, or a long sweater of some type, or a dress. It is not meant to be your actual pants, and if you have a shirt that comes to here, then you are showing everything. Yes, everything,” the woman said in the recording.

The woman then went on a tangent about how leggings do not look flattering on girls above certain sizes.

“The sad thing is with that, ladies — if someone has not told you this before, I'm going to tell you this now — unless you are a size zero or a two, and you wear something like that, even though you are not fat, you look fat,” the woman, reportedly Principal Taylor, said in the recording.

Below in full is Principal Taylor's statement on the situation:

"Yesterday and this morning, I met with each class of the Stratford High School student body. I addressed a comment made during a 10th grade assembly and shared from my heart that my intention was not to hurt or offend any of my students in any way. I assured them all that I am one of their biggest fans and invested in their success. After speaking with our students and receiving their support, I am confident that, together, we are ready to move forward and have a wonderful year. Stratford High is a very caring community, and I want to thank all of our parents and students who have offered their support to me and provided me with an opportunity to directly address their concern. I am very proud to be a Stratford Knight."

Comments on a now deleted post on the Stratford High School Facebook page illustrated the outrage among some parents and students sparked by Taylor's alleged remarks.

"I hope your comment about the kids weight didn't push them over to committing unthinkable actions," commented Facebook user AJ Lorinchack. "You are responsible for all of the kids that go to your school. Due to your poor choice of words you may have instilled a lot of horrible things in the student community."

"You're meant to be a public figure that young women can look up to, yet you make comments bodyshaming teen females? I'm disappointed but not surprised," Faceboook user Mari V. Goins said. "[I] hope you actually own up to your words and realise (sic) just how badly you might've hurt these young girls."

"This is absolutely appalling. Shame on you for body shaming," said Facebook user April Doane-Diaz, who claimed to be a Stratford alumna. "Ms. Taylor you owe the entire student body an apology. You are suppose to set a good example for all the students. You failed.

Others supported Principal Taylor, saying the comments and the entire ordeal were blown out of proportion, and citing their own positive experiences with Taylor as an administrator.

"I am sorry this is happening to you Miss Taylor," BreShae Saraya Moss said in part. "It is very unfortunate and quite immature, and I am afraid I am younger than most of them. This is but a trial, and you will get through this no matter what happens. You were always fair and level headed when I went to school."

"This is actually ridiculous," Facebook user Carloz Hernandez said "A bunch of facebook moms with nothing better to do than to flame probably Stratford's best principal yet. As a former student, Ms. Taylor always treated me with respect and fairness. I have no doubt she has the student's best interest in mind and whatever she said was probably an off hand comment to support the dress-code, that she didn't make by the way. If you want to actually change something, go to the school board. This is just petty."

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