Kasey Landrum, an openly gay Lexington High School student, was given a three-day suspension for wearing make-up in class.
Kasey Landrum, 16, was censured by the Tennessee high school’s principal, Steve Lindsey, after being told he had violated the school’s dress code.
The student told WBBJ-TV:
“The principal walked into the school and immediately started yelling at me for it, and told me to get outside.”
Kasey Landrum said he did exactly as the principal demanded without a reply but that another student who witnessed the incident and stuck up for Kasey was issued a one-day suspension for speaking out.
The next day Kasey Landrum was called into the office and given the in-school suspension for violating the dress code which states:
“When a student is attired in a manner, which is likely to cause disruption or interference with normal operation of the school, the administration will take the appropriate action.
“In matters of opinion, the judgment of the teachers and administrators will prevail.”
Kasey Landrum’s mother, Shelly Maness told WBBJ-TV:
“I’m very upset about it because he can’t be who he wants to be.
“When I went to register him, about the make-up, he [principal Steve Lindsey] reminded us Kasey was not to be wearing any.”
Henderson County Superintendent Steve Wilkinson said he did not know what disruption the make-up would have caused but added that the principal had the authority to determine what is deemed a distraction.
However, Kasey Landrum said he had gone to school with three different colours in his hair before and teachers did not deem that a disruption.
Kasey Landrum also said that another “punk-rock” student who had been wearing make-up that same day was not reprimanded.
“He had it on all day, and I was like, <<If he can wear make-up, so can I>>,” Kasey Landrum told WBBJ-TV.
The 11th grader said he has suffered from depression in the past by not being able to express himself at school.
“I’m proud of myself for being as comfortable as I am, but sometimes I wish I was straight,” Kasey Landrum said.
“I’m proud of my son, gay or straight or whatever. I want him to feel the same way,” said his mother.
After the suspension caught the attention of The Tennessee Equality Project and LGBTQNation, Kasey Landrum’s suspension was reversed, and a new school policy allowing all students to wear make-up was put in place.
Superintendent Steve Wilkinson said: “I guess that the easiest thing to do would be to go to a standard policy but we have in the past given a little freedom to our children and their parents about what they choose the wear.”