(Monroe, Louisiana, April 7, 2015)—Today, Carroll High School Principal Patrick Taylor and Monroe City School Board President Bishop Rodney McFarland Sr. contacted Claudetteia Love, who is being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), to inform her that she will be allowed to wear a tuxedo to her senior prom on April 24.
Last week, Claudetteia, 17, was told by Principal Taylor that she would not be allowed to attend her prom if she wore a tuxedo. Geraldine Jackson, Claudetteia’s mother, met with Principal Taylor to discuss this further and was reportedly told that “girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is.” Principal Taylor also reportedly claimed that approximately half of the faculty scheduled to work at the prom would refuse to chaperone if Claudetteia were permitted to wear a tuxedo. Claudetteia and several of her friends originally planned on attending the prom together, but, because of the school’s refusal to allow Claudetteia to wear a tuxedo, have opted not go to the prom unless the school changes its discriminatory policy.
The negative response against Principal Taylor’s decision was swift. Two members of the Monroe County Board of Education, which oversees Carroll High School, vowed to ensure that Claudetteia would be allowed to wear a tuxedo to her prom.
“We are pleased to hear that Principal Taylor and the Monroe City School Board corrected this wrong before any serious harm was done. Forbidding girls from wearing a tuxedo to the prom would have served no purpose other than to reinforce the worst sorts of harmful stereotypes and censor a core part of Claudetteia’s identity,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “The school is doing the right thing by supporting its students and teaching them the value of respect and acceptance of one another’s differences.”
Jackson, who is fully supportive of Claudetteia’s sexual orientation and her decision to wear a tuxedo, stated: “I am very happy that the school reversed its position in time for Claudetteia and her friends to attend the prom together. Also, I am proud of Claudetteia for standing up for her right to wear a tuxedo to prom and for being true to herself. She should not have to miss out on an important milestone for all high school students because of what others might say or do.”
“I am thankful that my school is allowing me to be who I am and attend my senior prom in tuxedo. Now that I can go in my tuxedo, I am looking forward to celebrating the end of my senior year with my friends and classmates at the prom, like any other student,” said Love. “The outpouring of support has been incredible and inspiring; it is a source of strength that I will keep with me as I move on the next phase of my education and life beyond high school.”