Lambda Legal Challenges Indiana School Banning Student from Wearing Dress to Prom

Fri. December 14, 2007 12:00 AM by

Indianapolis, IN - Lambda Legal has filed court papers with the Northern District Court of Indiana that indicate an area high school violated Kevin "K.K." Logan's First Amendment rights when it barred him from wearing a dress to prom.

According to a statement that followed the filing of the court papers, Lambda Legal said K.K. Logan attended West Side High School in Gary, Ind., during his junior and senior year and expressed a deeply rooted femininity in his appearance and demeanor. Both classmates and teachers at the school supported him in his daily attendance dressed in clothes typically associated with girls his age.

However, on May 19, 2006, Principal Diane Rouse stretched her arms across the door of the Senior Prom, blocking Logan's entrance. His classmates and friends rallied to his defense to no avail—even though a female student was allowed entrance dressed in a tuxedo.

Rouse has stood by a school policy that deems inappropriate any "clothing/ accessories that advertise sexual orientation, sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, profanity, negative social or negative educational statements."

"The fact that sexual orientation is lumped in with drugs and profanity in the school's dress code is just plain offensive, but even more troublesome is that the whole policy is in violation of students' First Amendment rights," James P. Madigan, staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago, said in a statement. "There are ways to write policies that both create rules for student behavior and also respect their rights—but this isn't one of them."

Lambda Legal argues that Logan's First Amendment rights were violated, including the freedoms of speech, symbolic action and expressive conduct. The school district also engaged in unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex and gender.

"I dress this way because it's who I am and how I feel on the inside," Logan said in a statement. "Gay and trans students have rights, and they should be treated fairly."

Written By: Chrys Hudson
Source: Lambda Legal Press Release

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