Jonathan Escobar is a regular 16-year-old who enjoys dressing in feminine clothing. He recently moved from Miami to Georgia to live with his sister, thinking it would be a positive change.
When he got dressed for his first days of public school at North Cobb High School, he dressed in his usual: skinny jeans, a vintage shirt and flats, with a touch of eye shadow and mascara and on one of the days, he accessorized with a glamorous pink wig.
Although he thought he looked good, the assistant principal did not. After being at the school for three days, he was told to dress more masculine. Escobar said, “I told myself I can’t accept this.”
Escobar was not up for changing who he was, so he left North Cobb. The district’s dress code prohibits students from wearing “any mode of dress which proves to contribute to any disruption of school functions.” School administrators and teachers are the final judges of what is appropriate.
It makes sense for administration to not allow the students to wear things like Escobar’s pink wig if it will be a distraction in the classroom. However, tight jeans, flats and make-up are not a real distraction. Nowadays teenage boys often wear tigher jeans and eye liner. The only difference is these boys aren’t pairing their jeans with flats from the women’s department.
Whatever happened to the First Amendment? High school students thrive on expressing themselves and if male students can’t wear feminine clothes that don’t say anything inappropriate, aren’t revealing and don’t cause major distractions, then they are being denied their constitutional right.
Moreover, there is no doubt that there are females at North Cobb who dress in male clothing. So why is it more acceptable for girls to wear men’s clothing than it is for a boy to wear women’s clothes?
Is it because males in feminine clothing are more distracting? Or made fun of more? And if that is the case, then if these individuals who wear clothes of the opposite sex are gay or bi-sexual, is society more accepting of gay females than of gay men?
Escobar said the students were not disrupted by his appearance while in the classroom. He was however, the main attraction in the lunchroom, with everybody surrounding him.
The administration said they were concerned about Escobar’s safety. It’s ironic though, that after Escobar took himself out of the high school, 900 students from North Cobb joined a Facebook group called “Support Jonathan” and many of the students were planning to make bright pink T-shirts with the phrase on them.
Escobar says he wants to continue with high school and graduate but he doesn’t want to compromise his “art.”
“If I can’t express myself, I won’t go to school. I want to get the message out there that because this is who I am, I can’t get an education,” Escobar said.
High school is a time to prepare students for college and the workforce. Out of high school, people have the freedom to dress how they want. College students wear almost anything they want to class, so what good is this high school doing in preparing their students for the future if in order to attend the school, they have to change who they are?