As I am in Oregon helping my Dad recuperate from knee surgery, I thought I’d do something I’ll call “On This Date In ISBL History” and repost some things from back when the blog was new, and newish … this was originally published November 8, 2011:
Up in Tennessee, which seems to be turning into the land of LGBT discrimination, sixteen-year-old Lexington High School student Kasey Landrum was suspended from school for wearing makeup. Oh, yeah, Kasey's a young man, a young gay man, which, I guess, is the reason for the suspension.
He says, of the suspension, "The principal walked into the school and immediately started yelling at me and told me to get outside."
Kasey did just what Principal Steve Lindsey instructed without a reply. But another student, who witnessed the incident, told Lindsey that Kasey was just expressing himself by wearing the makeup. Lindsey and that student exchanged words, and that student was given a one-day suspension. The next day Kasey was issued a three day in-school suspension. For wearing makeup.
Shelly Maness, Kasey's mother, said her son was suspended on the basis that he violated school dress code which states: "When a student is attired in a manner, which is likely to cause disruption or interference with normal operation of the school, the administration will take the appropriate action. In matters of opinion, the judgment of the teachers and administrators will prevail."
In discussing the matter, Henderson County Superintendent Steve Wilkinson said, "I don't know what kind of disruption it may have cause or may not have caused." He did say, however, that the principal has the authority to determine what is deemed a distraction.
Kasey Landrum was also asked to leave a school football game because he wore makeup, but says there are students, male students, who wear what he calls a "punk rock" style makeup, but are never punished.
When asked if he knew of any students he had distracted with his makeup, Kasey said there were no incidents which were caused as a result of him wearing makeup and said overall the students and teachers have been very supportive of him.
"I'm proud of myself for being as comfortable as I am, but sometimes I wish I was straight."
What are we doing to these kids? How is it ever acceptable to make them feel so ashamed of who they are that they wish to be something else? We try, and more often than not fail, to protect them from being bullied, but then we have school officials who use their own prejudices, or sexual uncertainties, to punish gay students. Principal Lindsey may not know it, but by his continually calling attention to Kasey Landrum, and calling him a distraction, and sending him home from school, he's setting up the chance for Kasey to be bullied by students.
I mean, if the principal can do it..........
Shortly after the story became news, the school reversed Kasey Landrum’s suspension and updated its school dress code policy to allow all students to wear makeup regardless of gender.