US: 13-year-old suspended from school for carrying a designer handbag

Aaron Day November 8, 2013
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A 13-year-old boy was suspended from a school in Kansas on Wednesday for refusing to take off his Vera Bradley handbag.

Skyler Davis, an eighth grade (year 9) student at Anderson County Senior-Junior School, told KCTV he had been wearing the bag without any kind of discrimination since August, but on Wednesday was called into an assistant principal’s office where he was later suspended for refusing to remove the item.

“I don’t think everyone should be treated differently,” said Mr Davis after he was suspended. “Everyone should have the same privileges.”

While the school said it would not discuss the matter specifically over privacy issues, it claimed that students were required to store their bags in lockers during core classroom subjects such as Maths and English.

Superintendent Don Blome said: “We strive to make sure we treat every kid alike and there are classroom rules we expect kids to follow.

“They can bring (bags and purses) to school. There’s no policy against that. But the classroom rules are that they can’t bring it to the classroom.”

However, Mr Davis’ mother, Leslie Willis, said she found no mention of rules explicitly mentioning bag conduct anywhere in the student handbook, adding that she was “furious” her son was suspended as girls could wear handbags to school without fear of discrimination.

“Skyler has been going to school since August with that same Vera Bradley bag on, hasn’t taken it off,” she said. “What is the problem?”

In an email, she said that her son went back to school on Thursday still carrying the offending handbag.

This time however, he was pulled into an office behind closed doors and told he was never suspended for refusing to take off his purse, but instead because of “foul language.”

Ms Willis said: “That’s not the story that Mr Hillard told me yesterday. Skyler is only 13 years old. He’s just a child. And if this isn’t bullying, I don’t know what is.”

In May last year, a middle-school teacher in Kansas courted condemnation from students and gay rights activists after he wrote on his Facebook page that being gay was “the same as murder.”

Related topics: Americas, Anti-gay, bullying, Discrimination, Kansas, school, US

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