Jeff Roberts, the principal at Southwood High School in Louisiana, is cutting a transgender student’s photos from the yearbook, claiming the student wore “feminine attire” and a wig.
According to ThinkProgress, Roberts said transgender student Kami Pham violated the dress code by dressing in a way that conflicted with Phan’s birth certificate, which reads male.
As ThinkProgress pointed out, the school’s dress code doesn’t specifically mention anything about wearing clothes that contrasted with one’s gender. The dress code does, however, give principals the discretion to “adjust the dress code to fit unique situations as long as the decision does not interfere with the requirements of Title IX,” which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.Screenshot/ThinkProgress
The liberal outlet suggested, however, that the principal’s decision did violate Title IX. It cited a statement that Tatjana Cotton, one of Pham’s friends, gave to KTBS to make the point.
“If I wore that same outfit, there would be no problem; no one would say anything. So why treat Kami any different just because of what her birth certificate says?” Cotton asked.
But the Education Department already said this year that it didn’t interpret Title IX as applying to gender identity, at least in the case of bathroom use.
“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” a department spokeswoman said in February.
Nevertheless, Cotton started a Change.org petition demanding Roberts apologize and allow Pham’s picture in the yearbook.
Pham, according to KTBS, was supposed to meet with Roberts on Tuesday and planned to attend a school board meeting April 24.
Roberts also prohibited Pham from walking at graduation with high heels and a wig.