17-year-old Trevor Wilkinson has started a Change.org petition in the hopes that the school will reconsider their dress code.
Content warning: Homophobia
A Texas teenager who was suspended for wearing nail polish has called out his high school over their double standard. Trevor Wilkinson, an openly gay 17-year-old, was suspended by his school after he returned from Thanksgiving break with his nails painted. Wilkinson, a senior at Clyde High School in Texas, was told that he had violated the school's dress code that has different standards for different genders. The student handbook states that men are prohibited from wearing makeup and nail polish, reported NBC News. "Imagine your school not allowing boys to paint their nails and giving boys ISS [in-school suspension] for it. And the whole administration being okay with it, homophobic and sexist? Welcome to West Texas," tweeted Wilkinson.
"I went into my class and immediately my teacher sent me to the office because she said I broke dress code," Trevor told Good Morning America. "It's to remove discrimination sexism, homophobia racism in small towns that feel like they can enforce a dress code or rules that completely go against how people feel and completely go against freedom of expression and completely break the federal law at that matter," added Trevor.
While the Clyde Consolidated Independent School District didn't directly respond to Trevor Wilkinson, they released a statement saying they "conduct a diligent and thoughtful review" of its dress code policy on an annual basis. "That review process results in the development of a final dress code that is consistently implemented and enforced during the next school year. Parents and students are provided a copy of the dress code prior to the start of each new school year," said the district. "Questions or concerns with the dress code are reviewed individually, and the District cannot share any information regarding a specific student." It's upto the campus administrator to decide if the student has violated the dress code and the handbook says the "student will be given an opportunity to correct the problem at school," it says. "If not corrected, the student may be assigned to in-school suspension for the remainder of the day, until the problem is corrected, or until a parent or designee brings an acceptable change of clothing to the school. Repeated offenses may result in more serious disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct," reads the handbook.
Wilkinson called the dress code discriminatory. "It's really sad to me because I feel like it's 2020 and we should be progressing and not taking steps back. And it makes me really sad because I know that there are other people who feel like this and feel like they can't express themselves and that they never will be able to because of people like this, who are not open-minded enough to see another perspective," the 17-year-old told NBC News. He has already been informed that he would remain suspended if he didn't remove the nail polish but Wilkinson isn't budging and said he'd rather stay in ISS.
The 17-year-old also started a Change.org petition calling for a change in the school's dress code. "This is unjust and not okay. Help me show that it is okay to express yourself and that the identity that society wants to normalize is not okay. I am a human. I am valid. I should not get in trouble for having my nails done," wrote the 17-year-old on the petition. Wilkinson's petition has been backed by more than 120,000 people. The 17-year-old thanked people for their support. "Thank you for standing alongside me to create change so that students like me can express ourselves in authentic ways in school and focus on our studies rather. As well as ending the gender norms that society has oppressed on us," wrote Wilkinson on Instagram.