Remember the conservative outrage that met that J.Crew ad of a little boy happily sporting pink toenails? Now we have a Florida student who’s been sent to the principal’s office for wearing high heels in class. According to a friend, the boy is now embarrassed, and, in fact, “the first time he felt shame was when he was called out of school.” The teacher claimed that the boy’s shoes were disrupting the classroom, and the principal says there was name-calling and, fearing bullying, he asked the boy to take off the shoes.
Yet this seems a pretty passive way to stop bullying, one that may even serve to enforce bullying in the first place. If the kid is courageous enough (and coordinated enough) to want to wear heels to class, why shouldn’t he? The students, for their part — at least the ones interviewed — seem pretty okay about boys in heels, even if they don’t want to wear heels themselves. One said, “I think it wasn’t really that big of a deal. If he wants to do it, then he can do it.”
Another boy recently wore a dress, but after talking to the principal, who was “concerned about his safety,” went home and changed his clothes. For the moment, the guiding principle for clothing is anything that’s not “distracting,” and boys can wear heels “unless students are paying attention to the shoes instead of class.”
Of course, in high school, shoes are frequently vastly more interesting than class…regardless of who’s wearing them.