March 1, 2005


Okay... seriously. First off, it's not like the other girls were wearing actual gowns. It was a dickie and some fake pearls. Secondly, they are lucky that more people don't try to wear something else in their graduation pictures. I mean, do most schools even have this requirement anymore? Third, if she was not a lesbian would they have freaked out that much that she wore the tux? Fourth, if the tuxes were 'provided' that indicates that these pictures were taken at the school. Couldn't someone have said something about it AT THE TIME? Fifth, see first highlighted section. Dumbass. Sixth - her parents are cool. See 2nd highlighted section.

School board bans photo of lesbian in a tux

February 26, 2005

Larry Buhl, PlanetOut Network

SUMMARY: A Florida school board upheld a decision to ban a student's picture from a high school yearbook. The reason: the female student wore a tuxedo provided for the boys.

Davis, a lesbian straight-A student, claimed that she wore the tux because she was uncomfortable wearing the traditional gown-like drape and pearls the school provides for the girls.

"Hey if [a tux was] good enough for Sharon Stone and Sigourney Weaver, it was good enough for me," she said.

Davis denies the decision to ban her photo is based on her sexual orientation, however.

"There's a dress code to follow, a dress code expected for senior pictures in the yearbook and she chose not to follow them. It's just that simple," Owens said. The principal's original claim that the outfit violated yearbook tradition was shot down by students, who pointed out that the 2005 yearbook is the first for the new high school.

While tux-photo supporters call the school's decision narrow-minded, youth advocates suggest that it's also legally questionable.

In backing Principal Sam Ward's decision, the school board caused an unexpected firestorm in this affluent and growing suburb of Jacksonville. On Thursday, hundreds of residents showed up at the school board meeting, some to support "traditional female attire," but more came to condemn the board's decision. Some students even showed up in tuxedos as a sign of support for Davis. But Clay County Superintendent David Owens had the final word.

"Many court opinions state that gender-based dress codes violate students' rights," said Craig Bowman, executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. "Unless it's clearly vulgar dress or offensive in some way, courts are more often sympathetic to the rights of the student."

"Kelli is lucky to have parents that are so supporting," said Joshua Lamont, a spokesman for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). "It would be even better if more schools would put policies in place to ensure freedom of expression. Decisions like this serve to marginalize LGBT students, when principals and administrators should be trying to break down those barriers."

Although Davis' parents have decided to skip a drawn-out legal fight -- which likely wouldn't be resolved until long after her graduation -- the picture will appear in the yearbook. Her parents paid $700 to publish an ad in the back of the yearbook featuring a picture of Davis in the offending tux.

Ending weeks of speculation but not controversy, Florida's Clay County School Board upheld a decision to ban a student's picture from the Fleming yearbook. The reason: Kelli Davis, 18, violated the school's dress code by having her senior class photo taken in a tuxedo provided for the boys.

Island High School

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