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Male Student Given the Boot for Wearing High Heels to Class

By Meredith Carroll |

High heel shoes

If it isn't against the dress code, then why should male students be allowed to wear high heels to class?

A boy at Riverview High School in Tampa, Fla., was kicked out of class for donning a pair of pumps.

The school’s principal, Bob Heilman, who was alerted by the boy’s teacher that the shoes were causing a disruption and the kids were starting to call him names, eventually convinced the boy to take off the shoes. Heilman claims he made the boy leave class because he was concerned for his safety.

If that’s the case, however, wouldn’t it have made more sense to throw the bullies out of class? Particularly since Heilman conceded the shoes weren’t breaking any part of the school’s dress code?

A friend of the boy told Fox News the boy likes the way the shoes make him feel, and that they give him confidence. The first time he felt any shame, according to the friend, was when he was called out of school.

I feel terrible for the boy and think the principal couldn’t have been more wrong. Why not call out the kids causing the disruption and let them know in no uncertain terms that their behavior was unacceptable and inappropriate instead of further singling out the one kid whose behavior and wardrobe were perfectly acceptable and appropriate?

If there’s ever been a case when a person in a position of power has had an opportunity to teach a lesson to some bullies, this was it. This principal blew it. Big time. Talk about sending the wrong message.

Do you think the boy should have been “convinced” to take off his high heel shoes and/or taken out of class?

Image: Creative Commons

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Male Student Given the Boot for Wearing High Heels to Class

  1. Lisa says:

    I’ve taught in schools where girls weren’t allowed to wear heels but if girls can wear them, so can boys and anyone bullying him should have been punished.

    If heels of a certain size are not allowed for girls, he should have been treated as a girl would likely have. A call home asking Mom or Dad to bring a new pair of appropriate shoes.

  2. Karen Palmer says:

    I am a teacher and I have experienced this similar situation having taught a student who was a cross dresser. I can tell you that it is not only disruptive to other students, but it can become even more difficult for the male student who wears the heals-particularly if this is a random event. I think in the school environment, there are certain norms that have to be maintained in order for learning to continue. As it is, we as teachers and students already have enough distractions, none of this need this during the school day. I think this opens the door for “anything goes.”

  3. barbara says:

    School is for learning not about fashion. If a boy wants to wear heals, he should wear them after school.

  4. sherry says:

    Lisa you were right on…

  5. Meredith Carroll says:

    @Lisa — I agree.

    @Barbara + @ Karen — I think that’s beyond discriminatory. If they don’t want boys to wear heels, then girls shouldn’t wear them either and they should change the fashion guidelines at the school. Mentalities like yours are what contribute to bullies and the larger problems for these kids.

  6. Amanda says:

    I agree with the idea that school shouldn’t be a fashion show, but I also agree that if girls are allowed to wear heels then boys should be too. That’s why I am a big fan of school uniforms – they prevent clothes from being any kind of distraction at all.

  7. Linda, the original one says:

    @Karen Palmer, bigots shouldn’t be allowed to teach children.

  8. Bunnytwenty says:

    Also, teachers should be able to spell the word “heels.” Hope she’s teaching math or science, and not English.

  9. lam says:

    @Karen & @Barbara – It wasn’t too long ago that gender and racial integration caused a disruption in the classroom. Get over it and get on board or get a job in the private sector. Public school is for social homogenization as much as it is for anything else. Tolerance must be ingrained in our young people. We can’t afford any more generations of people who want to freak out about how other people look and dress. All students must adhere to the same dress code, no matter their gender. Don’t like it? Advocate for a gender-neutral dress code.

  10. Anna says:

    It’s school, no one should be wearing high heels!

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