A school official at Rice Creek School in Port Wentworth, Georgia pulled a transgender student out of a school Valentine’s dance and said it was because she was wearing a costume. But according to her mother, she was simply dressed for the dance and “this was the first time she was able to express who she is inside, in a public setting.”
WJCL reports that the 13-year-old student “was wearing a black blouse, black slacks, eye shadow, and a rose in her hair.”
Said the student’s mother Charissa Mehojah: “Honestly, she was going to go in a dress, but she chose not to just in case it was going to be a problem. Rather than just apologizing and correcting the behavior, they asked me for medical proof that my daughter is transgender. Your formative years is when you start forming who you are at your core. You should be able to express that.”
The district released a statement:
SCCPSS supports and respects the rights of all students and does not discriminate based on the individual’s race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. We encourage students to build communities of inclusion and acceptance at their respective schools in accordance with district policy.
Several high schools in the district have clubs and groups for LGBTQ students. To our knowledge, there has been no request for a club for LGBQT students at Rice Creek. The District seeks to provide a safe and orderly learning environment that responds to the needs of students in a manner that fosters respect for everyone and supports our vision of teaching and learning.
Our staff and students understand the need to support the rights of all while balancing the need for preserving an orderly environment. It is expected that students will adhere to dress code requirements at school and during school sponsored activities. Our students’ adherence to these requirements help to minimize disruptions to the learning environment or school activity. Any special considerations must be fully communicated so the school can review all requests and respond appropriately. Our information does not support the claim that the school principal asked for “medical proof” in this situation. Rather, the word “medical” was referenced when explaining the basis for certain policy exceptions.
The school remains committed to all students and is working closely with the family to ensure the student is provided a supportive, caring learning environment.