An openly gay Texas teenager’s protest has gone viral after he was suspended for wearing nail polish.
Trevor Wilkinson, 17, said he was punished by Clyde High School after returning from Thanksgiving break on November 30 with painted nails, which violates the school’s dress code. The same day he got suspended, Wilkinson created a Change.org petition demanding that boys be allowed to wear nail polish.
“It is a complete double standard because girls are allowed to paint and get their nails done,” Wilkinson’s petition reads. “Not only that, but freedom of expression is validation enough that the dress code and policy is not okay. I am a gay male and I am beyond proud. This is unjust and not okay.”
Wilkinson’s petition has received national support, with over 90,000 signatures so far. His story has also been covered by Good Morning America, USA Today, The Daily Beast, and other media outlets.
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Clyde, Texas, with a population of nearly 4,000, is about 135 miles west of Fort Worth.
The Clyde Consolidated Independent School District refused to elaborate on Wilkinson’s case, but said in a December 4 statement that it “conducts a diligent and thoughtful review of the dress code on an annual basis.”
The district’s student handbook says that boys are prohibited from wearing makeup and nail polish. If a campus administrator determines that a student is in violation of the dress code, “the student will be given an opportunity to correct the problem at school. If not corrected, the student may be assigned to in-school suspension (ISS) 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.”
“It’s really sad to me because I feel like it’s 2020 and we should be progressing and not taking steps back,” Wilkinson told Yahoo. “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.”
According to current guidelines, Wilkinson will remain suspended until he removes his polish or remains at home to take classes online.
Wilkinson has been encouraged by the social-media support he has received. “I’m not taking off my nails and I’m staying in ISS because it’s completely wrong,” he said.