There are times when the fashion police is necessary — say, wearing a see-through body suit to the presidential inaugural ball, or sporting a graphic tee with an offensive slogan to, well, anywhere. This isn't one of those times.
Claudetteia Love, an openly gay student and top academic scholar in Monroe, Louisiana, said school officials won't let her come to prom in her outfit of choice: a tuxedo.
So, instead of being forced to wear something she doesn't feel comfortable in, she's decided not to attend the event on April 24.
The principal Patrick Taylor insists that it's simply a dress code issue, but Love told the News-Star that she thinks the school is using its dress code to denounce her sexual orientation.
Geraldine Jackson, Love's mother, said the principal told her that teachers said they would refuse to chaperone the event if the dress code wasn’t enforced. He reportedly told her that "girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is."
Now, in light of major media coverage of the controversy, the local school board is getting involved.
"I don't agree with Carroll banning her from her prom just because of what she wants to wear — that's discrimination," said school board president Rodney McFarland. "As far as I know there is no Monroe City School Board policy saying what someone has to wear to attend the prom. You can't just go making up policies."
The ACLU of Louisiana also released a statement Monday to all school superintendents in the state about Love’s situation, which reminds people that it is illegal for schools to deny students the chance to attend a dance because of who they choose to take or what they choose to wear.
“In light of the clear law protecting students’ rights to bring dates of their choosing and to wear attire typical of either gender, I trust that students in your district will have a safe and happy prom season free from unlawful discrimination,” the ACLU said.
We hope Carroll and the rest of his school listens up.
Until then, Love has an empowering message to every girl younger than her: "There are people in the world that won't accept you but they don't have to be so judgmental and make you feel like you're less of a person and that you shouldn't express yourself."