A 13-year-old boy in Kansas was suspended from school this week for carrying a Vera Bradley purse — the same kind of bag many of his female classmates wear without a problem.
Skylar Davis, an eighth grader at Anderson County Senior-Junior School in east central Garnett, Kan., said he's been wearing the brown cross-body purse with multicolored flowers on it since August, and has never before been asked to take it off.
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"It expresses myself. I refused to take [the purse] off, and they suspended me," he told KCTV 5 News
. "I don't think everyone should be treated differently. Everyone should have the same privileges."
The school claims that it prevents all students from having purses, handbags, and backpacks in the classroom during class time. Such items must instead be stored in a student's locker, Anderson County Superintendent Dan Blome told KCTV 5.
"We strive to make sure we treat every kid alike and there are classroom rules we expect kids to follow," he said. "They can bring [bags and purses] to school. There's no policy against that. But the classroom rules are that they can't bring it to the classroom."
But Leslie Willis, Skylar Davis' mother, said there is no mention of that policy in the student handbook. She believes her son is a victim of discrimination and bullying.
"He was pulled into an office, behind closed doors to tell him that he was never suspended for refusing to take off his purse, he got suspended for foul language," she wrote in an email statement to KCTV 5 Thursday. "That's not the story that [assistant principal Don] Hillard told me yesterday. Skyler is only 13 years old. He's just a child. And if this isn't bullying, I don't know what is."
Willis claims she was told by administrators that the suspension would stand until her son stops wearing the purse.
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