A 17-year-old high school student from Charles County City, Virginia was told by his school officials at Charles City High School to take off the pair of high heels he was wearing or get suspended. Asante Cotman refused to adhere to putting on other shoes and was removed from the school for three days.
“I was ordered to take the shoes off because they were disrupting the school. I wore this jacket and my white shirt and my scarf and a pair of cargo pants and heels. I didn’t see how I was bothering anyone. I was revealing nothing.”
Cotman’s interview with the station made a lot of viewers angry and upset, setting up WWBT to do a follow-up interview with him. He said he hoped that the “discussion will help spark changes at the high school.”
In the second report Asante Cotman made it clear what his goal of bringing all the attention to this is:
“I’m not advertising. I’m being myself. I want to be able to be a regular student. A gay regular student that attends CCHS.”
Principal Stephanie Crutchfield, who suspended Cotman, is keeping quiet, only saying that “It’s a situation where I have to investigate.” Superintendent Janet Crawley feels the decision was more of a safety hazard, than discrimination, since Cotman’s heels were 6 inches tall.
The Huffington Post also reported more cases of high school students who cross dressed being kicked out of the building. In Scotland, 17-year-old Jamie Love was expelled for wearing women’s clothing to school in January and left him feeling “totally humiliated and embarrassed.” A male student wore high heels at Riverview High School in Florida last year and was asked to take them off by Assistant Principal Bob Heilman because he felt it was preventing bullying.
Like Assante Cotman, Jamie Love and the young male in Florida had the support of their communities who rallied and protested against the decisions.