Claim: School is Responsible for Son’s Cross-Dressing

by Jason Barney on August 15, 2008

This is the silliest claim I’ve seen in a long while.  The shooting victim’s family filed a claim against the school their son attended because it allegedly failed to enforce the dress code.  The “feminine-dressing” boy was thusly singled out for abuse.  (“Family of shooting victim files claim against Huenume School District”, VenturaCountyStar, Aug. 14).

Update: I revised the title for accuracy.

{ 10 comments }

1 Jennymad 08.15.08 at 10:46 am

There are families who will sue a school for NOT allowing a student to dress as he/she pleases. Does Overlawyered have a “sued if you do, sued if you don’t” category?

2 matt 08.15.08 at 2:02 pm

not yet i dont think! but with the way things are going lol . . .

3 Mark Biggar 08.15.08 at 2:04 pm

I think this will just result in more and more schools just not having a Dress Code at all. Even though several studies have shown that a Dress Code (or even requiring uniforms) actual improves grade and standardized testing levels. Now watch someone sue a school for not having a Dress Code.

4 gitarcarver 08.15.08 at 3:51 pm

In the comments section of the cited article, there is another cite to this article in NewsWeek:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/147790

It is an interesting read in that this appears to be a case where the law allowed the kid to dress and express his sexuality even though the school dress code said that he could not dress in a manner that was “disruptive.”

So the kid was allowed to dress the way he wanted to – including stiletto heels and makeup. He then went around tormenting other male students by making passes at them. Predictably, the other students started to gang up on him and do things like take his stiletto shoes in the locker room. The kid continued to provoke the others including making a joke that he and kid that shot him were going to “make gay babies together.”

According to the article, there is little doubt that the kid was uncontrolable in school or at home. (The parents suing the school are his foster parents, and he was removed from their home for a time after he made the accusation that the father beat and abused him.) He had a GPA 1.74 and was about to become 1.00. He didn’t care about his grades either. According to many, he used his sexuality and dress as a club to beat on other kids.

It all culminated with the kid that he claimed was going to make gay babies together pulling a gun in a computer lab and shooting the kid in the back of the head, and then shooting him again.

Problem “solved.” The dead kid’s parents and supporters are claiming that this is a case of intolerance and hatred based on sexual orientation. The shooter is claiming that this is a case where a bullied child responded with the only way he know to stop the bullying.

Both parties are blaming the school. Neither are blaming the child for walking out of the house in a manner that helped foster the atmosphere that led to his death. Neither party is blamning the child for bringing a gun to school and using it.

The shooter is 14 and facing 51 years in prison. If convicted, his life is over before it truly began. Two “dead” kids and the solution from the parents is to sue the school.

5 Mo 08.15.08 at 4:28 pm

His FOSTER parents are suing the school? Why? Because they won’t get a state check for him anymore?

The boy obviously had problems that required professional psychological intervention…not so much for cross-dressing, but showing out with such blatant sexual actions toward other males. He knew full well that would only serve to antagonize them. That wasn’t a cry for help, it was a SCREAM.

If anyone failed that kid, it was his birth parents, foster parents and lax social services. Social workers have such overstuffed caseloads that they can’t keep up with all their clients. The school itself is blameless – they walk a very fine line as it is – if they’d tried to prevent him from doing anything, they would have been sued for violating his civil rights.

This is a pathetic money grab on the part of the foster parents. Ten to one odds that they shouldn’t even be allowed to foster kids in the first place.

6 nevins 08.15.08 at 5:57 pm

from the Newsweek article:”In the locker room, where he was often ridiculed, he got even by telling the boys, “You look hot,” while they were changing, according to the mother of a student.”

So this kid is sexually harassing his peers, but gets a free pass because he’s gay? Still I can’t blame the school because with all the damned political correctness, they were really hamstrung. Everyone has so many rights now it is impossible to moderate them all when people want to push their rights envelop enough that it clashes with other’s perceived rights.
This kid was ultimately the victim of the rights culture. He took the right to be in everybody else’s face so far that he found someone (a mere 7th grader who he made unwanted sexual advances to) who lashed back in another socially dysfunctional manner.
In this country you can be any damn thing you please. But I also have the right not to have you be a flaming idiot in my face every day of the week.

7 JP 08.16.08 at 4:57 pm

The King family, from the accounts I read, are a pretty bad lot and that is one reason the boy was not living with them. I’m not surprised by this.

I read dozens of articles on this when it happened and the Time account doesn’t fit them. I read the Time article and thought it was vicious. And I think it is absurd for people to argue as nevins did. He quotes how the boy was ridiculed and insulted by other boys. He “got even” by telling them they are cute and then nevins calls that “sexual harassment”. The little faggot apparently deserved it — that seems to be view of conservatives at least. Nevins use of terms like “flaming” (a term of ridicule to gays) indicates his own prejudices — that’s his problem. And he concocts a non-existent right to support his case “the right not to have you be a flaming idiot in my face every day of the week.” That is not, and cannot be a right. That is an excuse.

My view is that if the boy was transgendered (which seems to be the more likely case here and not gay) then he does has the right to dress as he did. And he ought to expect, as he did, some ridicule, though the school should try to keep it down as much as they can. If the other boys ridicule and hurt him with words he has the right to use words back, including telling them they are cute (conservatives gasp). They also have the right so say something back. But calling someone cute is no excuse for murder and the little killer who pulled the trigger deserves to have his life over. Conservative hatred for gays is so large these days that they will even make excuses for a killer.

8 gitarcarver 08.16.08 at 6:47 pm

He “got even” by telling them they are cute and then nevins calls that “sexual harassment”.

He calls it “sexual harassment” because that is what it is. If Larry King had continued to harass females in such a manner, I suspect you might have a different view. If the definition of “sexual harassment” is, in part, a repeated unwanted sexual advance, then how is King’s repeating that advance not sexual harassment?

My view is that if the boy was transgendered (which seems to be the more likely case here and not gay) then he does has the right to dress as he did.

You therefore agree that the lawsuit by the King family based on the idea that the school failed to enforce the dress code and allowing Larry to dress as he desired is without merit.

And he ought to expect, as he did, some ridicule, though the school should try to keep it down as much as they can.

I agree that the school should try to keep it down as much as possible. Yet I wonder why you do not say the same thing about Larry’s actions and reactions? If the school has the reponsibility to “keep it down” to be fair to Larry, doesn’t the school have the same responsibility to have kept Larry’s comments down as well? Or is this a one way street?

They also have the right so say something back. But calling someone cute is no excuse for murder

That was not the only thing said and you know it. Your argument is correct on the conclusion, but incorrect on the facts.

Conservative hatred for gays is so large these days that they will even make excuses for a killer.

I have read, and reread nevins’ post several times and cannot find anywhere where he is making an excuse for the killer. He makes the correct point that the school was and is hamstrung by rules and regulations that apparently you agree with. Larry King had his buttons pushed and pushed other people’s buttons in return. Or other people had their buttons pushed by Larry King and they pushed Larry King’s buttons in return.

It doesn’t matter who started this.

I am sorry that your bias will not allow you to see that and instead are using the death of a young man to attack those who think the whole situation was tragic.

9 Sue Pagel 08.18.08 at 5:03 pm

Of course the shooting was wrong….. but the SCHOOL is responsible?!?!? When do the parents bow out of their responsibilities? Just how much responsibility does the school have in the raising of our children? The boy should NEVER have been allowed to dress in that way at school OR at home. He should have been sent home long ago for that AND for sexual harassment of the other boys. But the parents are suing?!?!? What did they do about the cross-dressing kid? The parents have absolutely NO RIGHT to any money to compensate for their gross neglect.

10 Betty Bass 08.18.08 at 5:21 pm

Should the school be responsible for allowing a child to cross dress?

Are you kidding me? Did the school buy the clothes he wore? Did he leave home wearing one outfit and then the school let him change his outfit when he arrived on school grounds?

What I think is the lawyer that takes this case should be disbarred. Like our courts don’t have enough legitimate cases.

Unbelievable!

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