Education | Georgia | News

Georgia Teen Leaves School After Being Told to Dress More 'Manly'

Escobar

Jonathan Escobar, a new student at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia who considers himself a cross-dresser, was given an ultimatum last week:

"The 16-year-old says an assistant principal at North Cobb High School told him last week he needed to dress more 'manly' for school, or consider being home-schooled. He had only been a student at the school for three days. 'I told myself I can't accept this,' said Escobar, who wore a pink wig to school last Wednesday. Escobar said the  assistant principal told him his style of dress had caused a fight between students at the school."

Says Escobar: "They should've told the students to back off. They should have never given me the option of homeschooling or changing who I am. If I can't express myself, I won't go to school. I want to get the message out there that because this is who I am, I can't get an education."

Escobar withdrew two days later. An interview and his story, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. it's really sad when kids are wiser than adults.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 7, 2009 11:14:49 AM


  2. Good for him. Be who you are.

    Posted by: SteveH | Oct 7, 2009 11:17:08 AM


  3. Even though, I'm not digging his Signourey Weaver outfit from Working Girl, good for him for expressing who he is.

    Posted by: Al | Oct 7, 2009 11:21:29 AM


  4. That's one brave kid, who knows himself better than most straight people ever will. Kudos!

    That said, Coco Chanel said that a lady should always stop before going out, look in the mirror, and remove one accessory. I think that hat might be worth a quick re-evaluation. But what the hell... which of us doesn't have a heinous high school outfit immortalized in the yearbook?

    Posted by: The Milkman | Oct 7, 2009 11:26:05 AM


  5. The policy manual for Cobb Co says that students can't wear clothing that causes a distraction. I attended school in this county and people were sent home all the time to change due to shirts with politics to baggy jeans. This move is not surprising in the least. It's the schools policy to dictate dress code but this could have been handled better.

    Posted by: Matt | Oct 7, 2009 11:36:37 AM


  6. That hat could definitely cause a distraction. That said, I support his right 100% to wear the entire garish get-up to school.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Oct 7, 2009 11:53:43 AM


  7. I'm sorry, this kid is just looking for attention and being rebellious.

    Lose the hats, the wigs, the Lady Gaga-style blazers, the 6-inch high heels, and I'm sure he could still look feminine and be within dress code.

    Schools have rules--we all had to make compromises when in high school regarding the way we dressed. Sure, his message of acceptance is nice, and homophobia fuels the decision of the school to ask him to "dress more manly," but he is violating the dress code with complete abandon.

    Sure, he can't change who he is, but he can change what he wears. His personality doesn't FORCE him to dress like a diva about to perform in front of a crowd of fans.

    I'm sure he'd have way less of an issue with the school--perhaps even none--if he did his own thing while still trying to adhere to the dress code all the other students are forced to follow.

    If he wants to dress like that out of school, than more power to him. But a pink wig in math class? I don't care if you're a boy or a girl, that's definitely a distraction.

    Posted by: jpastor717 | Oct 7, 2009 11:57:49 AM


  8. Well I hate to be the party pooper, but I'm gay and have never been in the closet. I have always just lived my life without the need to "explain" anything to anyone.

    I feel Jonathan has caved into the pressure of the so-called established norms of life. What I would have done is to continue to dress how I felt as long as it was tasteful and appropriate for EITHER sex. Thanked the Asst Principle for his concerns and continued to show up each day for school. When he was then forced to stay home or be expelled, then and only then would he have a public platform to state his case and show how unfair Cobb County Schools is being. Giving up, staying home and fading into the background is not the answer.

    Posted by: Bob | Oct 7, 2009 12:01:49 PM


  9. @jpastor; just like the jocks performing in front of the crowd ? Get over it.
    This kid is from a new generation, who will sweep away the negative oppressive thinkin g that brought us DADT, etc.
    If a pink wig in Math class is the only thing causing a distraction.....consider yourself a real lucky teacher.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 7, 2009 12:17:53 PM


  10. Easy to say "consider yourself a lucky teacher", but it's still a distraction. The school has the right to determine its dress code, and I agree that a pink wig is pretty damn distracting.

    Was it smart to tell him to dress more "manly"? Probably not. Was it within the rights of the school to say "this is disruptive"? Oh, hell yes.

    We all had to compromise when we were in school, and we all have to compromise at work. I want a nose ring and would love to stretch my ears, but guess what, that doesn't fit in a conservative environment, so I don't. Welcome to the real world.

    Posted by: DR | Oct 7, 2009 12:23:49 PM


  11. I came to work today with a pig tail butt plug sticking out of my ass....and screw anyone who tells me I can't. And no, it's not disruptive in meetings, and who cares what vendors think...I'm just expressing myself.

    Posted by: Gregus | Oct 7, 2009 12:58:21 PM


  12. If this obviously attention-deprived child wishes to "express himself", perhaps he should wait until the weekend, when he can go and hang out at the mall or hit the gay ghetto. Someone should also tell this obviously fashion-deprived child that the "Boy-George" look went out, oh my, probably before the child was even born. Someone should also tell this sensitivity-deprived child that there are REAL trans-gender students across America whose lives are made a mockery of by this cretinous, bratty, immature little prick who wishes to "express himself". With that look, kid, I'd wait until Halloween. Oh, yeah, one more thing: GROW UP!

    Posted by: mike | Oct 7, 2009 1:07:53 PM



  13. @the milkman,

    my freshman college photo had me looking like a young ali macgraw. let us not take ourselves too seriously. lol. nevertheless, i was so young and pretty (yet, butch) then. (cue the wistful music.
    )
    this kid will persevere. he's got gumption. he's got courage. in short, he has the qualities of what makes a man a man.

    he is standing up for himself. if his 'self' happens to be female, he should go for it.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 7, 2009 1:11:55 PM


  14. I wonder what the assist. principle's side of the story is? I agree about the distraction. If it were kids wearing blue or red for their gang affiliation no one would complain. These rules the school has also prevents kids from wearing gay bashing T shirts. You know like "God hates fags". So I think it is a fair exchange for the kid to make a compromise.

    It's like we want to pick and choose what is acceptable for kids to wear to school as per our own agenda.

    The focus at schools it teaching and students getting an education. We do learn some social skills and it appears everyone involved need to learn more. If the assistant principle did say exactly that and only that, he needs to learn how to take a more empathetic approach to students. For example saying gender appropriate instead of “manly”. For a comparison he could have also asked the kid if he would wear a Vera Wang gown and pearls to the leather bar’s S&M night?

    On the other hand, you have to hand it to the kid. He saw a chance at his 15 minutes and took it. Unfortunately, I think his pick for his interview is going to make it easier for people to side with the assist. principle.

    Posted by: JohnF | Oct 7, 2009 1:17:26 PM


  15. @JOHNF,

    you are a surly old bitch. aintcha?

    let us all agree that the term "15 minutes of fame" be retired, just like JOHNF should be.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 7, 2009 1:56:12 PM


  16. I believe in expression and having a strong sense of who you are, however I think the old standby goes for everything: There is a time and place for everything. I don't think the school is necessarily doing the wrong thing here.

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Oct 7, 2009 1:57:25 PM


  17. I hate to ever side with anyone in Georgia on anything, but the school is right about this one. Too much of a distraction. It's a school, not a drag club or circus.

    Posted by: Huh | Oct 7, 2009 2:00:19 PM


  18. the Daughter that Paula Deen never had!

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 7, 2009 2:20:13 PM


  19. He can wear what he pleases. If the skirts/dresses aren't too short as Im sure the girls at his school must adhere to, then let him be. Sure a pink wig is distracting, well any bright colors are technically distracting, but if they don't have a clause in the dress code portion of the manual that all hair color must be of a natural color, then it should not be an issue. If kids are getting into fights over the way he dresses, then the ones causing trouble should be made to take a sensitivity course and/ or disciplined.
    I'm assuming this school does not have an actual uniform dress code, just that whatever is worn can't have offensive language or drawings, and pants can't be baggy and skirts can't be too short. Who is he harming?
    This guy has courage and hopefully the school officials protect the boy instead of saying they can't do anything other than tell him not to dress in girls clothing

    Posted by: B | Oct 7, 2009 2:57:25 PM


  20. When i went to Parochial school, all the boys wore white shirts and navy blue ties, there was no class distinction, rich or poor we looked the same.
    In my Art High School, no t-shirts, I remember a math teacher, who wouldn't let you in his class if he could see your t-shirt. That was only in his class. We never had a problem with discipline.
    Yes that was another time.

    Posted by: Bob West | Oct 7, 2009 3:09:17 PM


  21. Guys, any girl would not even be allowed to wear a pink wig in school. There are dress codes even at most public schools. I know public school students who have been sent home b/c their earrings were too long, or as someone mentioned earlier, baggy pants. And no, in areas with KNOWN gang problems, they would NOT be allowed to wear gang stuff to school. This is not about this kid being "who he is." This is about him looking for attention and causing an issue where there doesn't need to be one.

    Posted by: BC | Oct 7, 2009 3:21:35 PM


  22. I totally support him for wanting to be who he is, but I also support the need for school uniforms. Kids go to school to get an education, they are there to study and earn grades that lead to further education and/or employment. Schools should not be centers for self expression, this comment comes from a guy who was a punk rocker with red and black hair in school. Looking back I wasted more time trying to fight for fashion choices than I did trying to study. If I could go back I would wear sweat pants and t-shirts and not worry so much about how people see me.
    Uniforms would get rid of so many fashion oriented problems, like kids who can't afford to keep up with the rich kids, gang kids wearing specific colors, girls wearing slutty outfits to school, and another problem we had in my school was the white supremecy kids wearing swastikas and whatnot to provoke a response from others which caused so much unnecessary fighting...
    Uniforms for students while in school, let them wear diapers and butt-plugs and horrible hats on their own time, it's OUR tax money being wasted so that kids can fight over who looks more acceptible and it's just bullshit.

    Posted by: john | Oct 7, 2009 3:26:29 PM


  23. The "I Am What I Am" defense. There's a time and a place for it, but high school is not it.

    Expressing oneself in high school is different than being yourself -- kids in high school haven't lived long enough to actually know who they are. I don't say that to be mean or cynical, just that this kid has his whole life ahead of him. He needs to chill out, do his homework, and focus on learning and getting an education. That is the whole point of school!

    I feel that this kid, by standing up for "who he is" (bah!), and then withdrawing from the school, has done himself a disservice.

    Posted by: Erik | Oct 7, 2009 4:24:04 PM


  24. http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/adminrules/J_Rules/Rule%20JICA.htm

    Linkage to the Cob County School District Administrative Rules page, which includes dress code.

    Subsection B: Administrators and teachers shall enforce the dress code Rule, and the principal or designee shall be the final judge as to the appropriateness, neatness and cleanliness of the wearing apparel, or whether or not apparel is disruptive, unsafe, or in violation of the dress code.

    Some other schools I searched added "distractive" in the code.

    Posted by: DR | Oct 7, 2009 4:36:53 PM


  25. None of the schools I went to allowed students to wear hats to school, so I can see if the hat was an issue...
    I can also understand how really outrageous clothing on any student, male or female, could be distracting. Teenagers practically go out of their way to be distracted in school, it's an avenue to avoiding work. Give them something to be distracted by, and they'll run with it.

    Posted by: KittyVonSin | Oct 7, 2009 4:49:42 PM


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