Trevor Wilkinson just wants to go to school and to be himself. The senior at Texas's Clyde High School went to class after Thanksgiving break with painted nails and was immediately placed in in-school suspension. The reasoning, he was told, was that he violated the dress code, which bans male students from wearing nail polish and make-up.
Wilkinson was told that he would stay in suspension until he removed the nail polish.
He decided instead to stand strong and went in front of the school board with his message of acceptance and diversity. “I got my education taken away from me for something as minor as painting my nails because it’s against the dress code,” he said.
“Why is it against dress code for a man to be comfortable with his masculinity and defy the gender norms society has imposed on us?” Wilkinson asked the board. “Why is it harmful for me to wear nail polish? If it’s not harmful for girls to wear it, why is it harmful for males?”
“Having a double standard like this only shows that Clyde doesn’t accept kids for who they are and they shouldn’t be themselves because the very people that are supposed to create a safe environment can’t accept them,” he continued.
He ended his message by urging the board to get with the times and accept that diversity is what makes our world great. “We’re all supposed to be equal,” he said, “not having our freedom of expression suppressed, not having our voices not heard because grown-ups are taking three steps back instead of forward.”
Despite the brave and impassioned speech, Superintendent Kenny Berry said in a statement that the dress code won’t be changed until the annual review of the student handbook. “The District expects students to abide by established rules of conduct,” he said.