Members of the LISD School Board:
I am here to address the issue of males not being allowed to wear earrings. This is an issue of sexual discrimination--if females are allowed to and males are not allowed to wear earrings, you are being discriminatory! According to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Sexual harassment and sex discrimination are a violation of the 1972 Education Amendments in that they constitute differential treatment on the basis of sex. Title IX protects both employees and students and applies to any educational institution which receives Federal funds. Sexual discrimination is also covered by Federal law (Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964).
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to the tape of the School Board meeting that was held on July 14, 1998, in which the board voted to approve this rule. As I was listening to some of the comments made, I was rather concerned by the fact that most of the comments made were "I don't like it", or "I don't approve of it". The only comment that I heard, that may have been some kind of reasoning, was that the earrings were a distraction to the academic process and that it interferes with instruction. How can this be? If the females are wearing earrings, is this a distraction as well? It is my feeling that this rule is being enforced only because the board members disapprove of it. That is your right to disapprove, but it's not your right to discriminate.
Other comments I heard were that the "dress code affects the kids' behavior" and it "affects how the students act and think". I have to disagree with these comments. If a child has an attitude, it's not because of what he or she is wearing!
Another comment I must bring up was the LISD "kids have less respect for authority" than kids from other school districts. My comment to you is this: To earn respect, you must give respect!
From what I have been told and what I've heard from listening to the tape, there have been male students that have, in the past, "pushed" the previous rule of only wearing a small stud or a small loop too far. So, why punish the rest of the kids? And why make rules that are discriminatory?
I believe the School Board should reevaluate their discriminatory decision, and let the males wear their earrings!
RR 2 Box 728
Copperas Cove, TX 76522