CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. (CBSDC) – A gay high school student says he was suspended for wearing high heels to class at Charles City High School.
Asante Cotman, 17, received the three-day punishment last week after refusing to remove the footwear, which officials reportedly told him were a disruption.
“I wore … my white shirt and my scarf and a pair of cargo pants and the heels,” he told WWBT-TV. “I didn’t see how it was bothering anyone. I wasn’t revealing nothing.”
Cotman added that school principal Stephanie Crutchfield forced him to wear slippers instead of heels.
“They suspended me for being gay,” he told the station. “I’m missing a lot of classes. I’m missing classes that I need to graduate.”
Superintendent Janet Crawley allegedly denied the accusation, saying that the principal’s decision may have had more to do with safety than discrimination.
“I want Asante to know that we want him to be comfortable – we want him to enjoy his school environment and we’re going to look out for his rights just like we look out for the rights of any child here,” she told the station. “I cannot honestly tell you what [the handbook] says about heels. But we do have rules about shoes you wear that’s going to cause you to injure yourself. “
When CBSDC spoke with Crawley, she said that out of respect for the mother of Asante, she did not have any further comment on the matter.
Cotman was reportedly set to return to class today.