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Gay high school student says he was suspended for wearing make-up

WBBJ-TV
Thursday, November 3, 2011
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Update 6:00 p.m. ET: The Tennessee Equality Project reports they have spoken with Kasey’s mom, who stated the principal on Thursday reversed Kasey’s suspension, reversed his decision and that any student is now allowed to wear makeup.

LEXINGTON, Tenn. — The parent of an 11th grade Lexington High School student said her son, Kasey Landrum, 16, was issued an in-school suspension after he was caught wearing makeup 10 minutes after school ended.

“The principal walked into the school and immediately started yelling at me and told me to get outside,” said Landrum. He said he did exactly as Lexington High School Principal Steve Lindsey instructed without a reply. He said another student who witnessed the incident told the principal Landrum was simply expressing himself by wearing the makeup.

Kasey Landrum

Landrum said the principal and student exchanged words which would later lead to her being issued a one day in-school suspension. The next day Landrum said he was called to the office and issued a three day in-school suspension.

“I’m very upset about it because he can’t be who he wants to be,” said Shelly Maness, Kasey Landrum’s mother. “When I went to register him, about the make-up, he (Lindsey) reminded us Kasey was not to be wearing any,” she adds.

The suspension form obtained by Maness cited her son was suspended on the basis he violated the school’s 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.”

“I don’t know what kind of disruption it may have cause or may not have caused,” said Henderson County Superintendent Steve Wilkinson. Superintendent Wilkinson said the principal has the authority to determine what is deemed a distraction.

Landrum said this was the second time he has been reprimanded for wearing makeup. “We went to a football game… we were told to leave,” he said. He said the day he was reprimanded another student with what he calls a “punk rock” style wore makeup, but was not punished. “He had it on all day, so I was like if he can do it so can I.”

When asked whether he knew of any cases where students were distracted, Landrum said there were no incidents which were caused as a result of him wearing makeup and said overall the students and teachers have been very supportive of him.

“I’m proud of myself for being as comfortable as I am, but sometimes I wish I was straight,” he said. He said the emotional impact of not being able to express himself has led to depression which has caused him to miss days from school.

“I’m proud of my son, gay or straight or whatever. I want him to feel the same way,” said Maness. Superintendent Wilkinson said Maness has the right to appeal her son’s suspension.

Following is a video report from WBBJ-TV:

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