A gay middle school student was reportedly told her pro-LGBT shirt was "disruptive" and violated the school's dress code (video below).
Ali Chaney, a 13-year-old student at SC Lee Junior High School in Copperas Cove, Texas, was told to change her shirt because it was deemed "disruptive to the learning environment," KCEN reports. Her shirt was black with rainbow text and read: "Some people are gay. Get over it."
Cassie Watson, Ali’s mother, said her daughter called her in tears because she believed she was being targeted for her sexual orientation.
"I would never, ever have expected it from the administration," Watson told KCEN. "I would think that the administration would be the first ones there to support her."
Wendy Sledd, spokesperson for the school district, said Ali’s shirt violated the dress code.
"Our purpose at CCISD is to educate children, first and foremost," Sledd explained in a statement. "According to CCISD’s dress code in the student handbook and code of conduct, clothing that is disruptive to the learning environment based on reactions by other students is prohibited. The student was offered a school shirt to wear and declined.”
"It’s just a shirt, and it’s not hurting anybody," Ali said.
Ali added that other students have worn clothing with statements that could be deemed offensive and were not asked to change. She showed a photo of her friend who wore a shirt that expressed a negative opinion on President Barack Obama. The school rebutted with another photo of a student who was asked to change for wearing a Miley Cyrus "twerking" shirt.
"The photo of the shirt demonstrates that the dress code is enforced fairly and equally with every student," Sledd wrote in an email to KCEN.
Facebook comments on KCEN's story were mixed. Some believed Ali was not discriminated against, whereas others felt the school district was too conservative.
"The issue is not her or anyone else being gay," Andrea Forte wrote. "The shirt was against policy based [of] the disruptive nature."
"I don't believe any other child was distracted by her shirt," Jennifer Welch Teeter wrote. "That is a lie. The students are way less offended than the teachers."
"Our public school system isn't an arena for inflammatory issues to be championed by its students," Joe Barnes wrote. "This kind of garbage goes on enough in the colleges, we don't need it in our local public schools too. She should exercise her right to wear this shirt but leave it at home when she goes to school."
"I'm sorry, this is ridiculous," Megan Hill wrote. "She's not showing cleavage or leg. It's a t-shirt. There is no hate speech. I'm disgusted the administration would go after a child this way, further reinforcing negative stereotypes about hateful people.
"Guess what there are gay people in that school, and you just told them all that they are a distraction. Shame on you."