A gay teen boy is facing suspension for showing up to school with painted nails. Seventeen-year-old Trevor Wilkinson returned to class from Thanksgiving break only for the school to send him home for violating the dress code. Now the teen is calling for the school to review its discriminatory policies – and receiving a ton of online support.
A Dress Code Violation
The conflict began when Wilkinson attended school in Clyde, Texas on Monday, November 30.
“I went into my class and immediately my teacher sent me to the office because she said I broke the dress code,” he told Good Morning America.
The school reportedly gave Wilkinson the option to remove the nail polish, but he declined and was sent home. The same thing happened the following day, and again on Thursday after he called in sick on Wednesday.
“I have been doing this to express who I am,” the teen told the Abilene Reporter-News. “I’ve been trapped in closed-minded people’s minds… I love my nails. I think they’re so cool. I’m definitely using it to express myself and feel everyone should have that freedom of expression.”
Changing The Dress Code
Following his suspension, Wilkinson took to social media to blast the school’s dress code, launching a Change.org petition to have it reviewed.
“It’s to remove discrimination, sexism, homophobia [and] racism in small towns that feel like they can enforce a dress code or rules that completely go against how people feel and completely go against freedom of expression and completely break the federal law at that matter,” he said.
The petition currently holds nearly 80,000 signatures out of a 150,000 signature goal.
“I’m signing because it’s EXTREMELY unfair & ridiculous that males can’t wear nail polish and will get punished for it,” one commenter said. “Everyone has the right to wear what they want.”
Wilkinson has also received the support of the Abilene Pride Alliance, who have called for the dress code to be reviewed at the next school board meeting.
Most importantly, Wilkinson’s family has rallied behind the teen, including his great grandfather, Leroy Wilkinson.
“I don’t know why it’s any kind of a big deal,” the grandfather told Good Morning America. “Who does it harm? I’d like to see them just drop it, that’s what they should do.”
In a prepared statement, Clyde School District Superintendent Kenny Berry said that the district reviews the dress code annually.
“Questions or concerns with the dress code are reviewed individually, and the district cannot share any information regarding a specific student,” said Berry. “The district appreciates the feedback and input on this issue received from members of the community and will take this into consideration when it conducts its annual review later this school year.”