Well Done, Kelli Davis!
Fla School Settles Lesbian Tuxedo Dispute
(Green Cove Springs, Florida) A Florida school district has settled a discrimination claim by a lesbian student whose picture was removed from the yearbook because she was wearing "boy's clothes".
The dispute arose in February when Principal Sam Ward of Fleming Island High School ordered the picture removed when he was proof reading the year book before it went to press.
Ward said that Kelli Davis's tuxedo was not proper attire. The school requires females to wear frilly scoop neck collars.
The county school board and its superintendent backed the decision, which was debated at a School Board meeting attended by about 200 people. (story)
Fifteen of the 24 people who spoke at the meeting were in favor of Davis and nine supported the principal's decision.
Davis contacted LGBT civil rights groups and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a demand letter to the school threatening a lawsuit.
In the settlement agreement, the school board agreed to change its senior portrait policy, add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy for both students and teachers, distribute a copy of the new non-discrimination policy to all secondary school students, provide annual non-discrimination training that includes sexual orientation to all faculty and staff, and provide diversity training that includes sexual orientation to all junior high and high school students in the district.
Davis, who began classes at the University of South Florida this Fall, said she was pleased with the settlement.
“I’m just relieved it’s over and that no other student in Clay County will have to go through the embarrassment, humiliation and frustration I went through," she said.
"I hope the new policies will help the faculty understand it’s their responsibility to intervene when kids are being picked on because they’re gay or because they don’t meet society’s stereotype of how they are supposed to look or act.”