On November 30, Trevor attended school with his nails painted. He showed up authentically — like all students should. Shortly after beginning his day he was taken to the assistant principal’s office and placed in “in-school suspension” for refusing to remove his nail polish.
On Monday, December 7, after public pressure, Trevor was allowed to return to regular instruction pending a school board meeting and executive session scheduled for Thursday, December 10.
Yesterday, the Clyde Independent School District (CISD) Board held that special meeting. There were no topics for open session in view of the public, but a closed session included deliberation on student discipline and a visit with their legal counsel. After the closed session, the CISD Board motioned to adjourn the meeting and left without comment on whether or not they would reexamine/modify their existing dress and grooming policy.
We had hoped that the district would act urgently to address their current policy which is anchored in antiquated sex stereotypes that treat students differently on the basis of their gender. This was an opportunity for the district to adhere to existing federal law and protect LGBTQ+ youth who are disproportionately impacted by these policies.
According to GLSEN’s Educational Exclusion: Drop Out, Push Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline among LGBTQ Youth reports, anti-LGBTQ discriminatory policies and practices contribute to high rates of discipline. Over half (56 percent) of LGBTQ students experienced some form of anti-LGBTQ discrimination at school, and these students were more likely to have received school discipline than those who did not experience discrimination (48 percent vs. 32 percent).
LGBTQ Black/African American, LGBTQ Hispanic/Latino, and LGBTQ Multiracial students; LGBTQ students experiencing homelessness; and LGBTQ students with disabilities experienced higher rates of detention, in-school or out-of-school suspension and/or expulsion from school than others. This is unacceptable.
LGBTQ+ students exist everywhere, even in rural West Texas communities. It is important for their mental health, emotional well-being, and academic success to know that adults in their lives and community members at-large affirm and support them. Your messages, thousands of likes, and encouraging words have shown Trevor and all LGBTQ+ students across Texas that they have a community that will have their back.
We will continue to monitor this situation and support Trevor and the local community alongside our partners Abilene Pride Alliance, ACLU of Texas, and Lambda Legal.