Any woman who has wobbled in stilettos knows it takes a real man to walk a day in high heels, but apparently a Florida high school won't stand for any light gender-bending in its halls. A male student at Riverview High School was sent to the principal's office not because of his own behavior, but because others were bullying him. The principal concedes the student broke no rule.
According to MyFox Tampa Bay, the unnamed student was sitting in class, minding his own business, not being afraid to be himself in his heels, when other students caused a commotion by heckling his shoe choice. Instead of sending the bullies to the principal's offices, the teacher kicked the boy out of class.
"As a principal of a high school, I have to take the paternal side and make sure he's going to be OK," principal Bob Heilmann told the station. "Anytime anyone goes out from, quote, 'the norm' or anytime anyone wants to make a statement, you have to be willing to take what comes with it."
But friends of the teen say the boy was willing to deal with any snide comments other students made.
"He likes the way they make him feel. They make him feel more confident, and he just likes to wear them," says Riverview High School senior Hayley Stepp, who adds she's a friend of the student. "The first time he felt shame was when he was called out of school."
Pincipal Heilmann says the student dress code vaguely forbids clothing that causes a distraction, but it doesn't forbid heels, nor does it specify what kind of shoes are gender appropriate.
Following the incident, some fellow students showed their support for the boy. Another male student wore a dress to school in a sign of solidarity.
"As any reasonable disciplinarian will tell you," Gawker's Richard Lawson says snidely, "you always punish the target of harassment, rather than the harassers, because they likely brought it on themselves."
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We don't know why people get so hung up on gender stereotypes. King Louis XIV of France used to wear mad four-inch heels like nobody's business. Or to quote noted modern Western philosopher Madonna: "Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, 'cause it's OK to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, 'cause you think that being a girl is degrading."