Apparently some school officials don't have the whole "express yourself" thing in the bag. Thirteen-year-old Skylar Davis, an eighth-grader in Kansas, was suspended yesterday for carrying a Vera Bradley purse to school. Really.
"It expresses myself," Davis, a student at Anderson County Senior-Junior School, said. "And everyone else can wear it, so I think I can wear it as well."
The thirteen-year-old was called to Assistant Principal Don Hillard's office after refusing to take off the bag. Davis again refused to take it off, and Hillard suspended him. When his mom, Leslie Willis, came to collect him, she verified that that was all that had happened — there wasn't any other misbehavior or actions that would have merited the discipline. The suspension was also technically groundless: On nary a page of the school's dress code was there a mention of bags or purses. Yet his suspension, Hillard said, won't be lifted until Davis stops wearing the bag (which Davis has again refused to do).
And it's not like it was the debut of the bag: "Skylar has been going to school since August with that same Vera Bradley bag on, hasn't taken it off," Willis said. "What is the problem?"
The issue simply can't be looked at as a dress code or policy issue: Girls are allowed to carry purses at the school, as Willis points out, and some eighth-grade guys tote around messenger bags. The difference, apparently, is that Davis' cross-body bag (oh-so-similar to a messenger) is Vera Bradley — aka of a pattern that depicts flowers and other colorful motifs that could be considered traditionally feminine.
Essentially, as Mama Willis says, it's blatant discrimination. Would a girl get suspended for carrying around a forest-green backpack? We think not. Apparently "expressing yourself" is only okay as long as it fits into some people's gendered definitions of what 'your self' (emphasis on the two words) should be — and it's one that's unfairly weighted against guys.
In the meantime, Skylar, keep on keepin' on — solid navy blue is boring, anyway.