A 13-year-old Texas girl is speaking out after her school told her a pro-LGBTQ shirt she was wearing was a violation of the school’s dress code policy.
Eighth-grader Ali Chaney and her mother, Cassie Watson, believe the shirt reading “Some people are gay, get over it,” does not qualify as disruptive under the policy.
“I would never, ever have expected it from the administration,” Watson told KCEN News.
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“I would think that the administration would be the first ones there to support her.”
Watson says she got a call this past Monday from her daughter, in tears after being sent to the principal’s office at SC Lee Junior High School in Copperas Cove, Texas.
Chaney, who identifies as homosexual, says school officials told her to change her shirt.
“It’s just a shirt, and it’s not hurting anybody,” Ali told KCEN News.
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But a spokesperson for the Copperas Cove Independent School District (CCISD) says the shirt fell under the district’s policy against wearing “disruptive” clothing.
“Our purpose at CCISD is to educate children, first and foremost,” District Spokeswoman Wendy Sledd said in a statement. “According to CCISD’s dress code in the student handbook and code of conduct, clothing that is disruptive to the learning environment based on reactions by other students is prohibited.”
The school board says Chaney was offered an alternative choice of clothing after being told her shirt’s slogan was offensive.
“The student was offered a school shirt to wear and declined,” Sledd said.
According to the CCISD student handbook, the dress code “prohibits pictures, emblems, or writings on clothing (including bags/backpacks) that are lewd, offensive, vulgar, or obscene.”
In addition, the handbook says school administrators have the final say over what constitutes “disturbing” clothing.
“Campus administrators and faculty are charged with enforcing the dress code,” the code reads.
“Administrators will use their professional judgment in determining whether attire is distracting or causes a disturbance.”
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Yet Chaney says that policy is not enforced universally, showing a KCEN reporter a photo of another classmate wearing a shirt implying U.S. President Barack Obama is a Muslim Communist.
In that case, Chaney says no disciplinary action was taken by the school despite the shirt’s obvious political message.
Cassie Watson says she’s filed a complaint with the school board and is hopeful they will offer an apology to her daughter.
**EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story was edited to correctly identify what Chaney’s shirt read.