ST. PETERSBURG – A mother has filed a petition against her 14-year-old son’s middle school after he was not allowed to wear makeup on his last day of classes.
Chris Martin, an 8th grader at St. Petersburg’s Meadowlawn Middle School, decided to wear mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, and black lipstick to his school on June 5th, which was the last day of classes. In addition, he wore a shirt with an overt anarchist message. Upon arriving at the school, administrators asked Martin to remove the makeup, saying it was a violation of the dress code.
According to reports, Martin claims the principal called the cosmetics “distracting,” and told him it was “completely ridiculous and unnecessary for boys to wear makeup.”
“I was upset because they wouldn’t let me keep my makeup on,” Martin commented, “and I didn’t think it was fair that I had to take it off.”
Martin has two lesbian mothers—Katelynn Martin and Jamie Himes. Both were outraged by the school’s action against their son, describing the event as “shocking,” “unacceptable,” “distressing,” and an example of “intolerance.”
“I can’t believe in this day and age that someone would think this was that big of an issue,” Katelynn remarked.
Since the incident, officials at Meadowlawn Middle School have been mostly quiet and unresponsive to media requests for comments. However, a district spokeswoman revealed to the Tampa Bay Times that there is important “confidential” information that Martin’s mothers have been leaving out of their story.
Nevertheless, Katelynn is prodding onward with a petition to the county school board entitled “Pinellas County (FL) School Board: Don’t Side With the Bullies!” The effort insists that schools become more “accepting places for all students,” and pushes for the integration of homosexual-friendly programs into school policies.
“Require tolerance training for all administrators and faculty, encourage gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs in all secondary schools, and sponsor an inclusive curriculum that includes positive images of the LGBTQ community,” the petition outlines.
Since published on MoveOn.org, the petition has received over 10,000 online signatures.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to the superintendent of the school board on Wednesday, demanding that action be taken to prohibit further “sex discrimination.” It also argued that if female students can wear makeup at school, then male students should be allowed to do the same.
“The fact that a student’s outward appearance is gender-nonconforming does not give school administrators a license to discriminate,” the letter reads. “The school’s policy regarding makeup must treat all students equally. We hope you will ensure that school administrators in your district adhere to these legal obligations.”
Since the incident came to light, hundreds have weighed in on the issue. While some have voiced their support for Martin’s cause, others have sided with the principal and school officials.
“Public schools are for our children to learn,” one individual wrote. “Anything that disturbs the learning should not be tolerated. I think the principal did the right thing. Sensitivity is not the issue.”