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

WBBJ-TV
Thursday, November 3, 2011

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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Filed under: Tennessee

105 more reader comments:

  1. Thats so wrong

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:43am
  2. In every way

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:44am
  3. wtf!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:44am
  4. People need to start minding their own business, how can wearing make-up be a reason for suspension when there’s other horrible things that some times go unattended.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:44am
  5. Schools can do that now

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:44am
  6. That’s Fucking STUPID!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:44am
  7. for God’s sake, what does it matter? men wore makeup all the time back in 1700′s, rock stars, movie stars all wear it today when at events, it does make enhance one’s appearance, I wear and no one can tell, I even gave seminars to hi power male exec.s how to wear it…..give the kid a break…

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:46am
  8. surprise surprise…

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:46am
  9. retarded

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:47am
  10. what? guys wore make up at my high school, and most of them that did it were straight.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:47am
  11. … Doesn’t he have freedom of expression?.. Doesn’t he live in the United States of America where human rights are so vigorously defended?… Smh.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:47am
  12. Im not surprised – its the South – I love it but that part of it I dont love,why I had to leave myself -

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:47am
  13. Fight fire with fire…claim wearing makeup is part of your religious/spiritual path

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:48am
  14. I would water this one kind but I would be kicked out? wtf!! its like the schools are being ran by children. wait…… that’s a lie too…… children wouldn’t make this stupid of a mistake. it should be ran by children.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:48am
  15. That’s not right, when I was in high school a transgendered kid was band from prom for wanting to wear a dress. After sueing our school, they had to allow it and this was like 1999 or 2000

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:49am
  16. I hope the school gets sued. Schools need to know they are not the LAW

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:49am
  17. *wear

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:50am
  18. That’s discrimination plain and simple. Praying we see true equality in my lifetime!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:52am
  19. I bet it would have been acceptable if he were emo…that’s just some fuck shit

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:54am
  20. wow wtf seriouly!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:54am
  21. Me too A’isha. Me too……

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:54am
  22. OF corse

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:55am
  23. that’s pretty messed up.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:55am
  24. The makeup isnt the issue, its the excuse…

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:56am
  25. I agree Lavi.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:00pm
  26. Those who can’t teach, administrate. What assholes.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:00pm
  27. so all the girls shouldn’t be able to wear makeup. this principle should be fired for this action.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:01pm
  28. Wait, not only was it makeup, but AFTER school was over? Bitch, after 3 PM, you have no control over kids. I hate that administrators are starting to step out of their bounds with this kind of thing, same with bosses attacking workers or firing them when they aren’t at work for doing whatever on their own time. It’s not your business what happens when that bell rings if it’s not harming you or the school, get the hell out of that kid’s face and leave him alone. -.-;

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:04pm
  29. Uhhhh it’s TENNESSEE. Not that that makes his treatment excusable, but is anyone really surprised by this?

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:05pm
  30. Are you serious? -___-

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:05pm
  31. sounds like the folks in his school need to un-clench & have a chat with this kid’s lawyers or the ACLU…

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:13pm
  32. He needs to learn how to apply make-up. Those colors aren’t doing anything for his complexion.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:28pm
  33. What I don’t understand is how a bit of makeup is a distraction. It was also after school let out so what was he “distracting” the walls and lockers? But makeup isn’t distracting. If the kid came to school in his underware and nothing else THAT’S a distraction. Not wearing makeup. He should go through with the appeal on his suspension as well as file charges for discrimination in a lawsuit. Principal man wouldn’t stand a chance in court!!!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:31pm
  34. Simply pathetic. BUT, if we all stay together and unite, there is no WAY the Reich Wing anti-gay morons will win…no way! POWER TO US!! I’m sure Kasey will retain his class and dignity through all of this and it will be a “SHAME” on the wacko principal!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:36pm
  35. as if this was their buissiness…

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:41pm
  36. Thats going a liitle too far…

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:44pm
  37. Thats not right.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:44pm
  38. Wow. Just wow. Stupid people.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:45pm
  39. He depends on what state he lives in and also the laws in that state. If there are no laws saying he cant wear make up to school since he was gay then he cant be suspended . Also it matters what school he goes too and the handbook there. If also in the handbook at that school it states that there is no rule against him wearing that then he cant be suspend. He hasnt infringed on anyone elses rights. And yes in a way there are violating his 1st Admendment right. When they decide to take this to supreme court . They might rule that he can wear it .

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:46pm
  40. wrong on so many levels…..

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:52pm
  41. Ah of course this happens in TN. The hatered is rampent. People need to get over such things. Rock stars and famous men wear makeup all the time.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 12:54pm
  42. This is so ridiculous. My (VERY) heterosexual brother wore makeup all the time in high school to cover his acne. I mean, seriously?? People are so intolerant and judgamental. Who gives a damn if the kid is wearing makeup? I could slap a few people for this kind of ignorance…

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 1:00pm
  43. we r talking about Tennessee here people….a state that makes Mississippi look like a Blue state

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 1:02pm
  44. Wtf this is so dumb lets be serious ..

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 1:18pm
  45. Dont they have something better to do like teach kids

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 1:28pm
  46. ………………

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 1:57pm
  47. That is Bull crap. that is wrong

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 2:03pm
  48. Sounds like they need to start suspending everyone else who ears makeup. Has to be ‘fair’. Right?

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 2:19pm
  49. Fucking Tennessee. Seriously? They’re picking on this poor kid just because he wants to wear makeup?! WHAT THE FUCK. Get your heads out of your uptight asses and mind your own fucking business!

    [Sorry for the f-bombs but this has me WAY fired up.]

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 2:30pm
  50. Also, I agree with Ravens Perch. It’s just like the case of that one guy proclaiming wearing a pasta strainer on his head was part of his ‘religion’, and they let him get a driver’s license like that.

    I think that was over in Europe.. but you get the drift, right?

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 2:35pm
  51. Personally I think wearing the punk outfit would be more of a distraction, but its not freedom when one kid is held to one standerd and another kid is held to another. either all boys can or can’t wear makeup..

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 3:00pm
  52. distraction my ass, as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone he can do whatever he wants, suspend bullies not kids that are different

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 3:17pm
  53. That’s bullsh#T!!!! Hes allowed to wear makeup or whatever he wants its his body

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 3:45pm
  54. A gay male student (one of my best friends) was a cadet teacher, and he was noticeably feminine. He wore “girl’s clothes”, and got kicked out of cadet teaching because one of the parents of one of the kids he had in his class was offended by this. Everyone was like “This isn’t right!” The kids in his class liked the way he looked; the little girls always loved his shirts. They had no problem with him! It caused QUITE the controversy.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 4:37pm
  55. grrrrr

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 4:56pm
  56. Assholes wat the he’ll 4 I say if u wat 2 put makeup on and run around the whithouse I say let’s go

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 5:13pm
  57. I just don’t get it,
    we can do so much to our bodies to beautify them and enhance emotions, but a guy wearing make up crosses a moral line
    glad they don’t cut my head off cus they don’t get my hair styles.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 5:31pm
  58. Infuriating- when will this world grow the
    Bleep up and stop living in fear, accept people for whom they are, and move on with it?! Sheeeeesh!!!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 8:35pm
  59. originally make up was made for men to wear.. times have changed

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:38pm
  60. Welcome to the bible belt. That’s retarded. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:38pm
  61. Fuck that school sue them for discrimination

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:38pm
  62. Out of Curiosity. what did Tenn do during the 80′s with the new age / new romantic music scene?

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:39pm
  63. thats bullshit

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:42pm
  64. What the Hell?! That ain’t right! U should be able to wear make up if you want. no matter your gender!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:43pm
  65. Smh i dont agree with that at all ok i know everybody has diff. beliefs. but why punish somebody who is being them selves and not fake. ok he wore make up?? just because its not your choice of action dont mean you can treat others unequal. i got told in school everyday to be myself and 4 get others neg. opinions smh. they go by what u teach and its still not enuff. im LESBIAN and proud and reguardless of who hates me for what i am. i am still loved.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:44pm
  66. SHUT THE F))) UP!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:45pm
  67. Oh come on now! If what he’s wearing in this is all then that principal needs to wake the hell up!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:47pm
  68. what if he were a straight man, would anything be different? i believe that everyone should be able to express themselves.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:48pm
  69. come on the south lost LET IT GO!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:50pm
  70. >:( why can’t people just leave others alone… i mean gah D:<

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:52pm
  71. Lmao i wear makeup to school everyday sometimes even heels and dresses its crazy they actually suspend people for that

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:00pm
  72. Wow, Here in Philadelphia area, me and other guys wore eye make up ALL the time in school. Teachers thought we were crazy, and cool, and thought it was great we could express our own teenage emotions. It was a phase, a make up phase, and yeah for some of us, it was. :-D

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:00pm
  73. WOW he got suspended for being hisself…This is America HELLO free to do what you want as long as your not hurting anyone else..

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:01pm
  74. My son, straight but not narrow, used to have trouble at work over make up.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:04pm
  75. dats fucked up…:(

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:06pm
  76. What’s next?
    Principals start picking on male students with ear piercings or tight jeans because it’s a distraction to the rest of the student body?
    Never mind the fact that there’s normally more than 3,000 students at a high school.
    Oh but it just so happens that out of the whole entire student body 1 guy in particular is singled out because he’s gay & chooses to express himself freely over denying who he is & trying to become someone he’s not only to please others.
    Right.
    What day & age are we in again?

    This is EXACTLY why I moved out of Tennessee & far, far away.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:07pm
  77. Ridiculous absolutely ridiculous, if the boy wants to wear makeup let him, its not harming anyone else, suspension for wearing makeup what a horrible excuse.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:12pm
  78. Glad suspension was dropped, but seripusly…id still bring suit & place your mark on change in your school! Be who you are & be proude! “We R Who We R” ;-)

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:13pm
  79. What confuses the hell out of me is, why is he getting busted AFTER school ends? That makes no sense to me.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:18pm
  80. I live in Lexington. I cannot believe the ignorance. Kasey: good for you and your mother for not backing down. I support you!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:23pm
  81. Fucken go him!

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:35pm
  82. They sure let the Girls pile it on! Glad they reversed their decision . Frankly only in the United States is there a taboo with Men and make up. Go to Europe and men are in cosmetics as much as the women. The Principal most likely had a ideological problem, he’s a bigot.

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 11:51pm
  83. This makes me so damn mad. UI cant read this, ill explode.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 12:02am
  84. That’s it. They are fools. Ignorants like Iranians. The more I get such stuff The more I believe America is not that gr8.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 12:05am
  85. What a bitch principle lol he gets some media and the fucker pusses out on being a bigot rofl !

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 1:50am
  86. So…let me get this right. The school is giving this no problem causing, probably good grade making kid…who simply want’s to wear make-up to express his-self…the same amount of suspended days from school as that terrible bully in Ohio who beat up that one precious little person at school!!??!! I don’t see any distraction being cause by this kind of behavior or…self expression I should say…other than small minded LGBTQ-phobic people getting uncomfortable about something that does not even involve them. I’m sure some of the girls at that school wear more make-up than that. I mean come on, it just some eye shadow. I went to school with some gothic kids (no offense to gothic kids, your beautiful in you’re way too) that worn eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow & also lip liner & lip stick (granted it was all black) & people had piercing every-where. IDK, to the kid: Kudos on being yourself!!! Don’t let anybody make you wish you were different than how you are. Don’t special in your on way, don’t be afraid to express it where ever you are. Find a loop-hole, I’m stubborn, I’m going to be myself every-where I am, you should too. This school really should focus there attention on more important issues going on.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 2:10am
  87. *Your special in your own way

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 2:15am
  88. Bullying is never okay, but some people are just asking for it.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 3:26am
  89. well im glad he changed his mind because thats wrong!

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 3:57am
  90. @Zack – never OK? Except when they ask for it perhaps? When is that and who decides? That thinking is as antiquated as not allowing a guy to wear make up to school. You could have just stopped with never OK.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 4:06am
  91. there you have it THE LAND OF FREEDOM a real joke

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 4:36am
  92. Zack – go back under your rock. It is thoughts like yours that fuel the stupidity of hate and bigotry.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 7:49am
  93. Very amazing how the cold hard light of publicity can “cure” the stupidity and bigotry of one school principal.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 7:50am
  94. That’s so freaking stupid! He wants to wear eyeliner? He should be able to. Does the constitution not say we are free to express ourselves however we want, assholes? I’m so glad that principal reversed his decision because in my opinion, that’s the worst reason to suspend a kid I’ve ever heard (besides racist crap of course).

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 7:52am
  95. If you read the update, it says they allowed Kasey BACK INTO SCHOOL and that students are now ELIGIBLE to WEAR MAKEUP

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 8:37am
  96. Back when I was in high school it was the goth guys that got in trouble for wearing makeup. The gay boys were pretty much teased until they dropped out or beaten to death sometimes literally.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 10:13am
  97. I had a friend in high school in this exact same situation. He is gay, he wears makeup and occasionally high heels and skirts. Tastefully, mind you. He technically did not break the dress code (skirts not too short, etc) because it stated nothing about what is deemed appropriate or inappropriate for males/females specifically. He was suspended. Essentially for expressing his gay side in a school full of rich spoiled snobby sheltered kids and a severely homophobic atmosphere. We had a GSA, but a very small one, and you can imagine the kind of hate crimes we faced. Bringing it up to the principal, security, and most teachers, asking them to stand up…..it was like asking them to join us in a big gay orgy for the reactions they’d give us. Very uncomfortable, awkward, and embarrassed type of reactions. TIME TO WAKE UP AMERICA. WE ARE EVOLVING. WE ARE HARMLESS AND GAY AND WE ARE GOING TO STAY THAT WAY.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 12:26pm
  98. Something tells me somebody’s principle got a phone call from the ACLU.

    Posted on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 11:19pm
  99. I agree with the student on this on. Ten minutes before school let out, then what is the harm.

    A straight guy-goth-rock type of student could have then he should have to.

    Discrimination all the way. Anyone one who wants to wear make up then why ban him.

    No one was getting hurt, its expression of one self.

    The principal needs to go back to school, and get his degree in how to treat children/teens, and how to treat people, not yell at them.

    Sue…Sue…Sue… discrimination all the way.

    Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 5:24am
  100. We have to remember this is TN. This is the state where one cannot say the word “Gay” without having committed a crime. If we can’t say, “Gay” and we cannot wear the attire of the opposite gender, this means that TN doesn’t have any Gays living within the state’s borders. If invisible, it doesn’t exist!

    Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 9:09am
  101. Sadly, it’s true. I go to LHS,too. I saw this thing take place. And our principal has told us, that by registering for high school, we give up our rights. Kasey has never caused a distraction with his make-up, it’s just the fact that he’s gay. Our principal is a huge homophobe, but he doesn’t even realize how many LGTBQ students there are at LHS. There’s actually quite a few. (Including me.)

    Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 9:38am
  102. Poor guy….he needs to leave the redneck mentality and come to Santa Monica CA…..

    Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 3:03pm
  103. ok so what if he was wearing makeup, he was expressing himself. My problem with this is that he was caught 10 minutes AFTER school ended….they cant do that simply b/c they are NOT in school anymore at that point.

    Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 5:30pm
  104. As a graduate of Lexington High School, and having lived in Lexington for fourteen years in the past, I’m not surprised in the least. Tennessee is nearly as bad when it comes to progression and civil rights of people that are “different” in any way.

    I don’t recall interacting much with (then ‘Coach’) Steve Lindsey, but thinking back, he definitely strikes me as a homophobe, like many of the other teachers I can recall.

    While it’s awful that Kasey would have to put up with this mistreatment, hopefully it’s just another step in the right direction of getting LHS, Lexington, Tennessee, and the United States squared away in regard to her citizens and their rights.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 9:37am
  105. When I was going to school here in Oklahoma, I got a lot of crap for wearing makeup. My teachers tried to get me in trouble all the time for it. That’s the south for ya, I guess.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 12:45pm