Principal Sam Ward of Fleming Island High School in Clay County, Fla., pulled a lesbian student’s picture from the school yearbook because she wore boys’ clothes in her senior photo.
Kelli Davis, who is openly gay, wore a tuxedo instead of the traditional black drape that each girl was supposed to wear. Mr. Ward said he pulled Ms. Davis’ picture because the milestone of graduating from high school calls for uniformity and formality in student attire. He said the student’s sexual orientation was not a factor in his decision.
Ms. Davis’ mother tried to appeal the principal’s decision at a school board meeting on Feb. 24, but the superintendent and board members upheld the decision. Ms. Davis refused to have her photo retaken wearing the traditional drape.
Bruce Bickner, a lawyer representing the board, said the 32,000-student district gives principals authority to set the dress code.
A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2005 edition of Education Week