When Morgan Ball decided to accessorize his outfit with a shawl, he probably didn't think it would be a big deal. But when he got to school, it was a completely different story.
When the 17-year-old Missouri teen arrived at Lee’s Summit North High School wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a shawl, a black corset-like belt, painted nails, a necklace, and a little bit of makeup, teachers weren't impressed.
(And not that it needs any justification, but Ball wanted the outfit to be a little bit special, as it was his birthday.)
Upon seeing his outfit, the school's staff did a couple of things that were questionable to say the least. First, as Styleite reports, they removed Ball from class and told him to remove parts of his ensemble.
ABC News reports that after being asked to remove some of his clothing, one of the assistant principals asked Ball, "Do you have a gender identity issue? Are you aware that you're wearing women's clothing?" (Um, what?)
Now, the school has a dress code that allows teachers and other staff to veto clothing if they think it's "distracting attire," however, it's tough for us to tell if Ball's outfit was actually causing a threat or disrupting the other students. The way we see it, if his clothes weren't hurting anyone, why shouldn't he be allowed to wear them?
Upon hearing of the incident, people all over social media began protesting the dress code, sharing the hashtag #ClothingHasNoGender. A simple search of the hashtag on Twitter brings up hundred of tweets supporting Ball and his right to wear what he wants. The story began trending on the weekend, and has since sparked a massive movement online.
Even fashion designer Jeremy Scott caught wind of the story, and tweeted about it to his 300,000-plus followers
DEAR @MogonoloBall AS SOMEONE WHO GREW UP IN THE SAME AREA AND FACED ALOT OF THE SAME UNIFORMED BIGOTRY FOR WANTING TO SIMPLY EXPRESS MYSELF— JEREMY SCOTT (@ITSJEREMYSCOTT) March 18, 2015
The school may have felt like they were being protective, but judging by the reactions online, their actions were totally unnecessary.
The school isn't speaking to the press about the matter because Ball is a minor, but it's been reported that the student and his family met with school officials, who eventually said that they'd be open to changing the dress code policy.
We're glad to hear the school is open to making some changes. In our opinion, as long as an outfit isn't blatantly violating a dress code or harming students, they should be able to wear it. Clothing is a huge part of identity and self-expression, especially in one's teen years.
So, we say, keep on being you, Morgan!
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