Morgan Ball is a high school junior in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who turned 17-years-old last Monday. To celebrate his birthday, he decided to go to school wearing an unusual outfit. Before the day was over, he was reduced to tears by a school principal who told him his clothing was “distracting” to other students — and that he was required to change his clothes.
Morgan’s mother says it wasn’t the first time that her son, who is gay, wore an outfit that could have been considered “distracting,” but no one had ever complained before.
Now, many of his fellow students are rallying around their classmate and friend — and have even started a new social media hashtag: #ClothingHasNoGender.
Here is the outfit that Morgan wore to school that day. None of the items in the teen’s ensemble broke any specific school rules.
“Apparently, some students and staff members complained his outfit was ‘distracting,” Morgan’s supportive mom, Cheri Ball, said on her Facebook page. “Instead of taking the opportunity to educate those individuals about Morgan’s right to self-expression, she asked him to remove his beaded shrug, lace gloves and fashion belt. My son initially complied, but decided to put the items back on because he was not violating the dress code.”
Morgan himself said that he simply wanted to start his birthday celebration as soon as he got dressed in the morning.
“I was just thinking, ‘This is my day. I’m ready to celebrate,'” Morgan said. “I wanted to share with people how I feel.”
Cheri Ball also noted that her son, whom she described as “a proud, gay, young man who expresses himself with a fun flair for fashion,” was “very upset and embarrassed, especially since he is one of the most respectful, kind and compassionate students at the school. Did I mention he’s an honor student and very active in the music and drama departments?”
The story has a happy ending, however. In addition to the support from his classmates — and a trending topic on Twitter — Morgan’s parents met with school administrators, who expressed willingness to reexamine school policies to allow for students to better express themselves through their attire. The school currently has a rather vague policy prohibiting students from wearing clothing that could be deemed “disruptive to the learning process.”
“They said they were very supportive of me and how I was dressing myself,” said Morgan Ball, after meeting with the school officials.
[Images: YouTube Screen Grab]