An Ohio teenager says he was brought to tears by a lunch lady who refused to serve him because he was wearing a cheerleading bow.
Matthew Gabbert is the captain of the West High School cheerleading team, WSYX/WTTE reports. He was wearing a cheerleading bow in his hair and was asked to remove it by a lunch lady.
“I didn't know how to feel, I didn't know she was going to say that to me,” Gabbert told WSYX/WTTE, adding that all the cheerleaders wear bows at school. “She was like you can't wear the bow in here because you're not a girl.”
Gabbert said he felt overwhelmed and complied.
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“I started crying, you know,” Gabbert said.
Brianna Neale, a friend of Gabbert’s, was so outraged by the incident that she wrote a letter to school officials.
“In the letter I described that it's against Columbus City School policy, that we are promised not to be discriminated against and I include quotes from the Columbus City Schools page,” Neale told the news station.
But the support for Gabbert didn’t end there.
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“The next day I see all these guys wearing bows for me,” Gabbert said.
A classmate of Gabbert's documented the moment and posted it to Twitter with the hastag #bowsforboys.
Teachers showed their support as well. One of the teachers even bought Gabbert a new bow.
“It was really good to know how supportive the school really is for me,” Gabbert said.
Columbus City School officials said they do not tolerate any form of discrimination and said they moved the lunch lady to an off site location where she will not be able to interact with students. The incident is still under investigation.