Georgia Boy Says He’s Not Cross-Dresser, Just Creative — So Far Still Alive

7 10 2009

Atlanta Journal-Constitution in its news coverage:

. . .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. . .On his second day of school, Escobar says he was pulled out of class to speak with a police officer who told him he was concerned about the student’s safety.

No religious issue for once, at least:

Bryan Killian says that he follows the Pastafarian religion, and that as a crucial part of his faith, he must wear ‘full pirate regalia’ as prescribed in the holy texts of Pastafarianism.

The school, however, say that his pirate garb was disruptive.

For my son it would have been the kilt. Good thing we just homeschooled without being sent home by authorities:
Salute when you call my son a cross-dresser!

A kilt IS manly attire, inarguably NOT cross-dressing, yet this same dress code argument could be made — it’s disruptive because it’s unusual and might be misunderstood — thus it would jeopardize his own safety in the thuggishly conformist school environment. (If not from the other students, then jeopardy from fearful and/or frightfully ignorant adults.)

Kids get beaten up for being in the honors club instead of in a gang, no matter what they wear or how much they all look the same. Not for cross-dressing but just for crossing the street. Even to death.

And sending them home from school can get them killed, not keep them safe.

“It gets attention when someone dies, but this is every day with us,” says Kase Miles, who graduated from Fenger a year ago, pointing to a scar on his cheek that he says he received at school when someone attacked him from behind with brass knuckles.

“It’s getting worse…. But if he wouldn’t have died, [the media] wouldn’t be here.”

Keeping students safe – especially as they walk to and from school – has become a challenge for Chicago schools and police.

In other words, let’s be clear — it’s not kids causing such danger to themselves by being who they are in a free society, so controlling or segregating or repressing their individuality isn’t the answer. It’s not even School that’s responsible for the dangers, so dress codes and other enforced school standards or population control can’t resolve it either:

Since the academic year began three weeks ago, five Chicago children have been killed, says Phillip Jackson, founder of the Black Star Project, which is working to strengthen violence-stricken communities in Chicago. In 2008, more than 30 students were killed, according to the Associated Press, citing district figures.

“Schools by themselves can’t fix the problem,” Mr. Jackson says. “We have to get the community involved. . .”

Instead of the money that has come from Washington to bolster police presence, Jackson would like to see funds for more counselors, after-school programs, and job creation.

But if you think globally and act locally, you still could say “change through education” offers hope. The Georgia newspaper’s blog commentary is a lot more enlightened than its schools and law enforcement, apparently:

It’s 2009. Kids are far more tolerant of gender blurring. They are also far more extreme in their dress. I have spoken at dress-code free private schools where I was tempted to throw blankets over some of the girls because of the revealing clothes they wore.

This kid isn’t indecent. He’s just unusual.

And perhaps not even that unusual. . .

Let Jonathan be. High schools have bigger challenges than a kid who wears a page-boy wig and tight jeans.

And let me say, I expect a lot of you will disagree. Have at it.



3 responses

8 10 2009

People in the communities most directly affected, she said, can’t afford to hide behind closed doors.

A few days ago, she saw a mob chasing a 12-year-old and his sister down her street, hurling bricks. She called the police, then walked to the gas station where the boys had gathered. She chased them.

“I wasn’t trying to be heroic,” she said. “You can’t be heroic out here.”

But complacency is life-threatening too.

Derrion Albert’s beating, Latiker said, was barbaric. But the young people vilified as savages are themselves constantly beat upon by brutal forces.

Every day, many of them walk out of a troubled home into a neighborhood of vacant lots, guns, gangs, drugs.

“When they get to school,” she said, “school is upset itself. They come out of school mad.”

And they go back to a troubled home, past the vacant lots, guns, drugs, often across rival gang territory. They have no skills, foresee no jobs.

I asked Latiker what people outside those neighborhoods could do to make it stop.

“Volunteer,” she said. “Find out who you can help. We need all the help we can get.”

7 05 2010
Time for “T-Shirt as a Second Language” Test, Ready? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] told it was for his own safety, to prevent not a riot but just stereotypical school bullying (for wearing girly clothes, as the principal saw […]

17 12 2010
Ideas of 2010: Happy Thinking! « Cocking A Snook!

[…] of fashion constrained by public dress codes for example, as Snook often does over t-shirts, kilts and serious […]

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