Lesbian Claudetteia Love, a senior academic scholar at Carroll High School in Monroe, Louisiana, was told the school has a gender specific clothing policy and only boys wear tuxes to the prom. She believes this policy goes beyond fashion, and is really based on her openness to being a lesbian.
Love believes the school is using her. She is in advanced placement classes, takes all kinds of tests for these classes and her good grades makes the school look better. The school is failing academically. Now that it is time for her to celebrate her academic accomplishments and her upcoming graduation, she is being prohibited from celebrating her own way.
However, Love has a lot of support. She was going to her senior prom, in a tux, with a group of friends and now none of them will be attending. A petition was passed around by the senior class to get the tux rule changed, however, the petition was not acted upon by faculty. Love says it does not matter, she will choose to use this experience to help others. The girls, lesbians, anyone in the grades below her, should be able to feel accepted, regardless of sexual orientation. A gay senior should even be allowed to wear a dress to the prom, if he so chooses and without any battles. There are people who are not going to accept gays and lesbians but they do not have to be judgmental and prevent anyone from expressing themselves.
Mignon, Love’s sister, says she has heard the school faculty talking about the prom dress code. Mignon says it is not about how lesbians or gays dress, it is about judging them. She heard faculty say that being a lesbian or being gay is a sin. Mignon says only God can be the judge and everyone sins.
The school principal, Patrick Taylor explained the prom dress code to Geraldine Jackson, Love’s mom. He said it is not personal, it is policy. This is not because Love is a lesbian, no girls can wear tuxes. This issue goes beyond dress code, the principal said there are members of the faculty that would refuse to chaperone the prom April 24 if girls wore tuxes. Jackson felt that the dress code was more about personal preference than school policy when he informed her that boys wear tuxes and girls wear dresses and that is just the way it is going to be.
The President of the Monroe City School Board, Rodney McFarland agrees with Jackson. McFarland made a statement soon after the story went national. McFarland said that it is discriminatory to prevent Love from wearing what she wants to the prom. He said he did not know of any prom dress code policy in Monroe City. McFarland has contacted Superintendent Brent Vidrine to have him talk to the principal about the so-called, dress code “rule.”
McFarland also contacted The News-Star so he could announce that he will be taking action on Love’s behalf as a human being with the right to make a choice between wearing a dress and wearing a tux. McFarland is taking this stance for everyone with any sexual orientation. Self-expression is important and it is their senior prom, they earned it.
Love is one of the highest academic achievers at Carroll High School and is expected to represent the school at a yearly Scholar’s Banquet, held for the Ouachita Parish top students. Last year, Love participated with a group of students, in a Monroe City School Board meeting. This was part of a high achieving medical magnet program. After Love graduates, she will be attending Jackson State University on full academic scholarship. It could be possible for her to attend her high school reunion in a tux as a married lesbian.
By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of Vincent Milum Jr. – Flickr License
Photo courtesy of Scott – Flickr License
Photo courtesy of Shot in the City – Flickr License