A teen boy from Missouri wore an outfit to school that has sparked a national debate about dress code and gender identity.
Morgan Ball reportedly wore a corset, shawl, necklace, jewelry, and a glove -- as well as makeup and painted nails -- when he attended class Friday at Lee's Summit North High School in Lee's Summit, Missouri. The teen wasn't violating his school's dress code, but school administrators asked him to change what he was wearing anyway because they told him he was distracting other students, reports KCTV.
The student's mother posted a comment on Facebook, defending her son and the way he was treated:
"Apparently, some students and staff members complained his outfit was 'distracting' and instead of taking the opportunity to educate those individuals about Morgan's right to self-expression, she asked him to remove his beaded shrug, lace gloves and fashion belt. My son initially complied, but decided to put the items back on because he was not violating the dress code."
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The school is currently on spring break, but several students and supporters are using this time to rally behind Morgan and defend his attire on social media using the hashtag #clothinghasnogender. His story has captured the nation's attention and many are taking aim at school policies that they say perpetuate gender stereotypes and encourage narrow-minded thinking.
The Transgender Institute in Kansas City issued a statement regarding Morgan's clothing:
"If we were in LA or New York City, that fact that this young man came to school in a feminine way or somewhat feminine clothing would mean nothing, but the fact that because we're here in Kansas City, the administration of Lee's Summit took it upon themselves to ask him to take these clothes off. He was expressing his right to present in the way he chooses."
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The principal of the school reportedly contacted Morgan's parents after the incident was shared on social media. The school says no students were disciplined about their clothing on Friday. Morgan's friends and family have created T-shirts to support Morgan and plan on wearing them to school after spring break.