Claudettia Love is a top honor student at Carroll High School in Monroe, Louisiana. The openly gay seventeen-year-old was originally banned from wearing a tuxedo to her prom. That decision by the school’s principal was reported in the media and made national headlines. But Principal Patrick Taylor has had a change of heart, the National Center for Lesbian Rights announced on April 7, according to Yahoo!. In response, Love made the following statement.
“I am thankful that my school is allowing me to be who I am and attend my senior prom in tuxedo. Now that I can go in my tuxedo, I am looking forward to celebrating the end of my senior year with friends and classmates at the prom, like any other student.”
The ban led to a student petition favoring Love’s right to wear the type of attire she chooses and the School Board’s involvement, according to the Associated Press.
Originally, Principal Taylor allegedly indicated that his decision was not personal, when he stated that Love was barred, by the school’s dress code, from wearing the tux. Geraldine Jackson, Love’s mother, stated that the principal said the following:
“Girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is.”
The principal added that teachers stated they would not attend or supervise the prom if she were permitted to wear the banned attire, according to the Associated Press.
However, the Monroe City School Board President, Rodney McFarland, disagreed with the principal’s original edict and interpretation of the school’s dress code and stated the following.
“Banning her from her prom just because of what she wants to wear — that’s discrimination….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 National Center for Lesbian Rights staff attorney Asaf Orr offered legal support to Love’s family after her plight was publicized in the press. Orr said the following.
“School districts for many years–around the country, not just in Louisiana–have been coming up with all different reasons to exclude LGBT students from prom. Censoring someone’s core identity is not appropriate. It’s really appropriate for schools to just be supporting their students and helping them grow and develop and succeed. That’s exactly what this reversal will allow….Placing these restrictions on what a student can wear to the prom and who they can bring as a date to the prom are sort of—at this point, they shock our conscience. This is 2015. We shouldn’t be having these discussions.”
But is it too little too late? Geraldine Jackson is not satisfied with the school district’s change of heart, saying that her daughter is “still hurting.”
Monroe City Schools Superintendent Brent Vidrine stated the following after the announcement was made that Love can wear her chosen formal attire.
“As a school district, we want each and every child in our district to have a great experience both in school and extracurricular. We constantly evaluate our policy and procedures to maintain that positive experience for all our students.”
Claudettia Love plans to attend Jackson State University on a full academic scholarship.
On another civil rights front, the Inquisitr reported on a Colorado Civil Rights Division decision that found a bakery that refused to make cakes with anti-gay messages did not discriminate.
[Photo Courtesy John Moore/Getty Images]