A US school has refused to back down following demands that it reverse a ban on a lesbian student placing a picture of herself wearing a tuxedo in the school’s yearbook.
School officials at Wesson Attendance Center in Mississippi told 17 year old openly gay Ceara Sturgis that her photo would not appear in the yearbook because she is not wearing the traditional drape worn by other female students.
In a statement released by the school, Superintendent Ricky Clopton said that “we have had our legal counsel research the validity of the position of the School District on this matter,” and that it would not change its position.
“It is the desire of the Copiah County School District to inform, first, the patrons of the district, and second, all other interested parties, that its position is not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful, but is based upon sound educational policy and legal precedent,” he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi (ACLU-MS) earlier said that the school officials are violating Sturgis’ rights by not allowing her to wear the tuxedo in the picture.
“Such a requirement for gender-specific clothing is a violation of students’ rights to gender equality and self expression. The decision by school officials to require Ceara to wear a drape is arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional,” noted the ACLU-MS.
“I feel like I’m not important, that the school is dismissing who I am as a gay student and that they don’t even care about me. All I want is to be able to be me, and to be included in the yearbook,” Sturgis said in a statement.
The school now faces legal action by the ACLU-MS on the matter.