ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — Concerns over earrings in a dress code handbook caught Lynette Powell by surprise when she found out her son couldn’t wear earrings to school, bringing to question Title IX which says schools can’t base either a dress code or its enforcement based on sex stereotypes.
“It’s understood what the dress code is at the beginning of each year and parents read and sign that handbook acknowledging that they understand what the dress code is,” said Enterprise City SChools Superintendent, Greg Faught.
When Elijah came home from school after a teacher told him he couldn’t wear his earrings on campus his mom went into action taking the dress code issue straight to the school board for reconsideration.
“More than anything I wanted my son to know, you know he’s a homosexual boy and proud of it, and I wanted him to see that it’s okay to challenge when things aren’t right, have the courage to challenge things anyhow,” said Elijah’s mom, Lynetta Powell.
For Elijah, earrings are a way of self-expression.
“When I was able to fully accept myself it was almost a release, like I don’t have to hold anything back, I don’t have a secret to keep anymore and being able to express myself with earrings is something that I’ve always looked at,” said Elijah.
Superintendent Faught said this was not the first time the earring issue has been brought up to him. The rule was written years back because of safety concerns related to gang affiliations, but things have since changed
“So we’re not sure that, that, still applies so what we are going to do is open it up, allow the students to wear those earrings for the remainder of the year and we are going to see, if there are issues that arise we will keep that rule in the book,” said Faught.
The Powell family sees this relaxation of the rule as a little victory.
“This is a small part of a bigger picture, there is a hint of… there is an undercurrent of racism, sexism, homophobia in a lot of our beliefs and our cultures and our rules and our regulations, and instead of editing he who is different edit he who wants to project his beliefs on other people even when it’s not affecting him personally,” said Lynetta.
On Wednesday November 5, Enterprise City School Principals announced that boys are now allowed to wear earrings on campus.