This past Tuesday, GLAAD urged the public to take action and stand with the Martin Family after Chris Martin's school forced him to wash off his make up. Signatures on the petition are growing at a rapid rate with over 9,000 names listed. The petition from MoveOn.org, was started with the hope of bringing tolerance training to schools, and adding gay-straight alliance organizations to not only high schools, but also middle schools. Clearly, these changes need to be made after the incident involving Chris Martin and his school system.
14 year old Chris Martin, was approached by Meadowlawn Middle School's Principal, Claud Effiom, and was asked to remove his makeup. Chris would not agree to this order. Following Chris' refusal, the school called Chris' mom, Katelynn Martin, and informed her of the situation at hand. His mother stood by Chris and also questioned the school's request. She was outraged by the situation, "He [Chris] felt so good about himself when he went to school that day, and then when he called just a short while later from the front office, I could tell he was very upset," Martin was outraged by the Principal's response stating, "He could not cite anything in the dress code other than to say it was unnecessary for boys to wear makeup, and that it was a distraction," said Martin.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is now on board with The Martin Family. In a letter to Superintendant Dr. Michael A. Grego of the Pinellas County School Board, the ACLU advised them that the action taken by the principal in this circumstance was "unlawful."
"The Code of Student Conduct for Pinellas County Schools does not prohibit students fromwearing makeup – in fact, it does not discuss makeup at all. Although the district’s dress-code policynotes that “[i]ndividual schools may have additional dress and grooming requirements,” there is no indication on the website for Meadowlawn Middle School that makeup is prohibited at that school. Moreover, as we understand it, many female students at Meadowlawn Middle School regularly wear makeup at the school, so the school does not even have an unwritten, de facto policy against makeup generally."The ACLU accused the school of "sex discrimination" against Chris stating,
"Applying a different rule to Chris because he is male constitutes sex discrimination in violation of the United States Constitution, the Florida Constitution, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of1972. Principal Effiom apparently has certain beliefs regarding how boys and girls should present themselves, but school officials may not discriminate based on gender stereotypes."
View a report from ABC Action News on Chris' story: