Trans girl misses graduation after judge's ruling
Trans girl skips out on high school graduation ceremony and her parents sue after Mississippi school officials told her to ‘dress like a boy’ – as another female student is pulled from the lineup for wearing pants
- Another female student, Jai Dallas, was pulled from the lineup moments before receiving her diploma, because she was wearing pants underneath her gown
- The family of the L.B. sued the school district Thursday but a Mississippi federal judge denied the motion Friday
- The ACLU says the verdict of the federal judge not to reverse the decision in Gulfport, Mississippi, is ‘as disappointing as it is absurd’
A transgender girl has missed out on her high school graduation ceremony and her parents are suing after Mississippi school officials told her to ‘dress like a boy’.
The family of L.B. Brown sued the school district Thursday, after Harrison Central principal Kelly Fuller and school district superintendent Mitchell King told her she must follow the boys’ dress code on her graduation day.
Graduating male students at the school are expected to wear a white shirt, tie and black slacks, while females are expected to wear white dresses.
A Mississippi federal judge denied the motion Friday, requesting she be allowed to wear a dress and heels under her robe, and as a result a humiliated L.B pulled out of the ceremony altogether.
L.B. – who had a white graduation outfit picked out before she was told she couldn’t wear it – wasn’t the only student to miss out on the milestone moment.
Another female student, Jai Dallas, was pulled from the lineup moments before receiving her diploma after the school said she could not wear black pants on stage.
L.B. Brown (right) and her mom Samantha (left) spoke out after L.B. who is a transgender girl was told she could not wear a white dress to her graduation ceremony at Harrison Central High School in Mississippi
L.B. in the white dress she had picked out for her graduation – but was told she was not allowed to wear
School district superintendent King told L.B.’s mother, Samantha Brown, that the transgender student could not participate in the graduation ceremony unless she wore ‘pants, socks, and shoes, like a boy.’
L.B. said she was called to the Harrison Central High School principal’s office two weeks ago for an ‘unexpected warning’ about what she could and could not wear to graduation.
She says she’s been left humiliated by the ruling.
‘Me going to graduation in what they asked me to wear would be me telling them that it’s OK, and it’s not,’ she said.
‘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.’
Taking part in a graduation ceremony is voluntary and not a constitutionally protected right for any student, Wynn Clark, local public school district’s attorney said, according to the Guardian.
Before the school’s warning, L.B. and her mother had assumed the school would respect her decision to wear similar attire to graduation because the school had accepted L.B’s decision to dress in female attire in the past.
L.B. has reportedly worn dresses all throughout her high school experience. She has been dressing in ‘girl clothing’ to class and extracurricular events according to the lawsuit and should not face discriminatory treatment during graduation.
‘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 said, according to WDTV.
‘Our client is being shamed and humiliated for explicitly discriminatory reasons, and her family is being denied a once-in-a-lifetime milestone in their daughter’s life,’ Linda Morris, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project said.
‘No one should be forced to miss their graduation because of their gender.’
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi are representing the 17-year-old student and her parents, Samantha Brown and Henry Brown.
Taking part in a graduation ceremony is voluntary and not a constitutionally protected right for any student, according to court papers.
The ACLU says the verdict of the federal judge not to reverse the decision in Gulfport, Mississippi, is ‘as disappointing as it is absurd.’
The lawsuit cites a violation of their child’s civil rights, accusing the school district of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender and violating the teen’s First Amendment rights.
Fellow student Jai Dallas also missed the milestone ceremony after wearing black pants rather than a white dress – and claims she was told she couldn’t take part just minutes before she was due on stage.
Jai Dallas (second from left) also missed out on her graduation after she was told she couldn’t wear black pants on stage – minutes before she was due to collect her high school diploma. Her mom Caren Dallas (second from right) and sister Raniah Braclet (far right) defended Jai
Her mother Caren Dallas said she was told Jai can ‘take her pants off and walk the stage, but she needed white shoes. So, she could walk in her underwear, but she can’t walk in pants.’
Her grandmother, Michelle Faison, traveled 800 miles to see her graduate.
‘I don’t understand how this, a moment this important, can be taken away from a child that’s worked 12 years to get here,’ she said.
Her sister, Raniah Braclet, graduated from Harrison Central three years ago and said she no longer feels proud to come from Harrison Central.
‘That was a very awful experience to see my sister not be able to graduate from where I graduated from,’ she said.
Caren Dallas plans to continue searching for answers first thing Monday, she said.
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