The parents of a Florida middle school student started an online petition asking for improved tolerance training after their son was punished in school for wearing makeup.
Chris Martin, 14, decided to wear black eyeliner, eye shadow and lipstick on the last day of eighth grade at Meadowlawn Middle School in St. Petersburg and was told by school administrators that he was violating the dress code.
Martin also got in trouble for wearing a shirt bearing an anarchy symbol. His parents, two women, started a petition on moveon.org to improve tolerance training for teachers and administrators, WCTV reported.
"When I asked what was wrong with his makeup, the face the principal gave me made my blood boil,” said his mother, Jamie Himes.
A spokesperson for the district said there was more to the story.
"But that would mean sharing confidential student information, which I am not at liberty to discuss," wrote school spokesperson, Melanie Marquez Parra, in an email.
Martin’s parents said it is not the first time their son's sexual identity has caused him problems at school. He has been beaten up and teased and has had his belongings destroyed.
The petition encourages schools to teach lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender history and host Gay-Straight Alliance clubs, as well as improve tolerance teaching.
"Schools need to be a safe place, and kids need to know they won't encounter intolerance there," Himes said. "It's not about our son anymore; it's about intolerance."