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Austin, Texas- December 6, 2020 – Today, Equality Texas, the largest statewide organization solely dedicated to securing full equality for LGBTQ+ Texans, Abilene Pride Alliance, a nonprofit organization that is committed to connecting, coordinating, and advancing the LGBTQ+IA+ community in Abilene and the Big Country and Lambda Legal condemn Clyde High School’s decision to suspend an openly gay student for wearing nail polish to school.
Earlier this week, a student from Clyde High School received in-school suspension for having his nails painted. The school district’s student handbook says male students are prohibited from wearing make-up and nail polish. As such, the school has given the student three options 1) remain in in-school suspension, 2) remove nail polish, 3) attend virtual learning.
“Unfortunately, discriminatory policies in schools are all too common in Texas. 70% of LGBTQ+ students in Texas report experiencing at least one form of anti-LGTBQ discrimination at school. Right now, there are many schools preventing LGBTQ+ students from using their chosen name or pronouns in school, bringing a same-gender date to a school dance, or starting a GSA, while others are being sent home for wearing LGBTQ+ supportive apparel or wearing nail polish. LGTBQ students are experiencing unequal treatment from that of their non-LGBTQ counterparts. LGBTQ students have the same right to express themselves as non-LGBTQ students; and therefore, should not be singled out for differential treatment. Students should attend safe and affirming schools where they can be their authentic selves and focus on their studies. Forcing a student into in-school suspension because of a rigid and out of date policy regarding gender stereotypes can have detrimental effects on educational outcomes,” said Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas.
“It is our hope that we can work with Clyde CISD to immediately rectify this situation the student is currently in and ensure that going forward, the school district follows TASB recommendations to dissolve policies that treat students differently based on gender expression.
We are asking for this discriminatory policy to immediately be addressed at Clyde CISD’s next school board meeting and that the child in question be released from suspension with an official apology from the School District, said Sam Hatton, Chair, Abilene Pride Alliance.
“School rules that treat students differently based on gender stereotypes violate clearly established law. By enforcing such archaic rules that disproportionately harm LGBTQ+ students, the district exposes itself to significant legal liability. We call on the board and district leaders to act with urgency to correct outdated policies that foster an unwelcoming school environment and take significant and meaningful steps to ensure inclusion for all students,” said Paul D. Castillo, Counsel and Students’ Rights Strategist for Lambda Legal.
In September, the ACLU of Texas sent a letter to Clyde CISD demanding that they reexamine dress and grooming code policies that are unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Our organizations are committed to monitoring this developing situation and support the Clyde High School student to ensure action is taken to create a safe and affirming learning environment for the student and all LGBTQ+ students across Texas.
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration. The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.
Abilene Pride Alliance is a nonprofit organization that is committed to connecting, coordinating, and advancing the LGBTQ+IA+ community in Abilene and the Big Country.
Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
 GLSEN. (2019). School Climate in Texas (State Snapshot). New York: GLSEN.
GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students.