A Georgia mother told WJCL-TV that her transgender daughter was pulled from a Valentine's Day dance and then isolated in the school library — over the outfit her child was wearing.
"I was furious. I was livid," Charissa Mehojah told the station. "All she was wearing was a nice outfit that I or you would wear to go out to eat with a loved one."
What was the student wearing?
Mehojah told WJCL the outfit in question was a black blouse, black slacks— along with eye shadow and a rose in the 13-year-old's hair.
She added to the station that after her child was pulled from the the dance at Rice Creek School in Port Wentworth, which teaches grades 3 through 8, the student was isolated in the school library.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
“She was crying and upset because this was the first time that she was ever able to express who she is inside in a public setting," the mother added to WJCL. "Honestly, she was going to go in a dress, but she chose not to just in case it was going to be a problem."
What happened next?
Mehojah told the station she met with the school counselor who told her she removed her child for wearing a costume. When Mehojah explained to the counselor and principal that her child is transgender, she told WJCL that the principal asked the mom for medical proof.
“Rather than just apologizing and correcting the behavior, they asked for medical proof that my daughter is transgender," Mehojah added to the station. "There is no such animal as medical proof."
Since the meeting the principal has verbally apologized to Mehojah's child — but no one has contacted the mother, WJCL reported.
The station said the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools dress code for nonuniform days doesn't restrict students from wearing blouses, slacks, makeup, or flowers, regardless of that student's orientation.
“Your formative years [are] when you start forming who you are at your core," Mehojah told WJCL. "You should be able to express that."
What did the school have to say?
The school district told the station in a statement that "our information does not support the claim that the school principal asked for 'medical proof' in this situation. Rather, the word 'medical' was referenced when explaining the basis for certain policy exceptions."
"It is expected that students will adhere to dress code requirements at school and during school sponsored activities," the district's statement to WJCL also said. "Our students' adherence to these requirements help to minimize disruptions to the learning environment or school activity. Any special considerations must be fully communicated so the school can review all requests and respond appropriately."
In addition, the district told the station that "the school remains committed to all students and is working closely with the family to ensure the student is provided a supportive, caring learning environment."