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A Mississippi high school boy who claims he is a girl was told by his school he had to wear boy’s clothes to his high school graduation — and then his parents sued the school district to force them to allow him to wear a dress.
L.B. Brown said he was informed by Harrison Central principal Kelly Fuller and school district superintendent Mitchell King that he had to “dress like a boy” at the graduation, wearing a white button-down shirt, tie and black slacks. Brown said he was instructed to wear “pants, socks, and shoes, like a boy” by King. Girls are required to wear white dresses.
“Me going to graduation in what they asked me to wear would be me telling them that it’s OK, and it’s not,” Brown declared. “It would just feel like I was shadowed and tainted by bigotry, hate. My graduation, it’s the start of a new life, a better life.”
Brown had worn girl’s attire to school before, a point that the lawsuit stressed. “When we looked at that policy, under our impression, my daughter identifies as female every day of her life. She dresses in feminine clothing every day of her life,” Brown’s mother Samantha said, adding of King, “He also said that the kids needed to have on their ‘Sunday best.’ How is her wearing her dress not her Sunday best?”
Brown’s family along with the ACLU filed a lawsuit on Thursday, May 18, in order to force the school, located near Lyman, Mississippi, to accept Brown wearing a dress to the Saturday May 20 graduation. In court, both Brown and his mother admitted he had been officially registered as a male during the four years he attended the school. They also stated that they had signed a commencement participation agreement in March that adumbrated the graduation dress code policy.
King stated in court that he had seen a young man wearing a dress at an earlier event, prompting him to examine the school’s dress code policy. He asked the principals at Harrison Central, West Harrison and D’Iberville High Schools to name students who might be breaking the dress code.
On Friday night, U.S. District Court Judge Taylor McNeel denied the request, asserting that Brown’s case did not meet the standard so he could grant “extraordinary relief in changing the status quo in a short time period.” McNell said the status quo was the school sticking to its dress code policy.
The school also refused permission for a girl to get her diploma at the graduation because she wore black pants instead of the requested girls’ attire.