A 14-year-old boy was recently humiliated and asked to leave his classroom. His crime? Wearing makeup.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, 8th-grader Chris Martin decided to celebrate the last day of school by wearing black eyeliner, eyeshadow, and lipstick. When he got to Meadowlawn Middle School, he was told by school officials that he was violating the dress code.
Administrators asked him to change his shirt and clean the makeup off of his face. An upset Chris called his two moms, Jamie Himes and Katelynn Martin, who said they understand why the image on Chris’s shirt (an anarchy symbol and sheath) may have violated the code, but the parents contend that the makeup should not have been a problem.
Himes and Martin said they met with the school principal, Claud Effiom, and Martin said that he told them Chris’s makeup was "distracting" and that it was "completely ridiculous and unnecessary for boys to wear makeup" at school.
According to Chris’s mother, Jamie Himes, "When I asked what was wrong with his makeup, the face the principal gave me made my blood boil.” The parents then contacted the school district, who backed up Effiom’s stance. The parents were so outraged that they started a petition on Moveon.org urging the school district to improve tolerance training at the school.
District spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said that there are details to the story that haven’t come to light. In an email, she wrote, "There is more to the story. But that would mean sharing confidential student information, which I am not at liberty to discuss."
"I can't believe in this day and age that someone would think this was that big of an issue,” Katelynn Martin said of her son’s treatment “It was kind of shocking.”
The parents contend that this is not the first time that their son's sexual identity — which Chris has chosen not to reveal — has caused him problems at school. They say Chris has been bullied, beaten, and his things have been destroyed. While the parents have complained about these incidents, they maintain that the school has not done anything substantial to stop the harassment.
The petition currently has over 9,728 signatures, with a goal of 10,000. Himes said, "Schools need to be a safe place, and students need to know they won't encounter intolerance there.” She added, “It's not about our son anymore, it's about intolerance.”
Speaking through his parents, Chris said he supports the petition.
Source: Tampa Bay Times