Suspended teen in detention center

CHARLES CITY COUNTY, VA (WWBT) – The 17-year-old, who believes he was kicked out of school for being gay and wearing high heels is no longer attending Charles City High. The high school junior is actually behind bars now.

Asante Cotman was arrested at his home on the last day of his 3-day suspension. Althea Cotman tells me her 17-year-old son was crying as his probation officer took him away while she was at work.

Asante Cotman's mother says he's in secure detention at Merrimac Juvenile Detention Center in Williamsburg awaiting two probation violation hearings.

During a phone conversation, his mom told me her son was recently convicted of credit card fraud involving his grandmother's and her credit cards. His P.O., she says, claims to have monitored him recently on facebook and twitter and decided Asante violated his probation.

Asante's mother thinks his arrest may have something to do with his public allegations of how he says the principal treated him. Asante talked with me when he was home suspended from school.

"I want central Virginia to know that Charles City High School does not accept its gay students. Education is being hindered because they are being suspended for issues that have nothing to do with a code of conduct," Asante said earlier this month.

The high school junior believes he was suspended for being gay and wearing high heels. He says Principal Stephannie Crutchfield quizzed him about everything, always.

"She said, 'Let me see your tube of Chap Stick'. I had to really pull out my tube of Chap Stick to show her that I didn't have lipstick on," he said.

Principal Crutchfield has declined to comment. But the superintendent said: "Asante was not suspended for the reason he says he was. I have no other comment out of respect for the mom and it could have repercussions on the school."

Strapless sandals, flip flops and bedroom slippers are banned. But the student handbook says nothing about heels. There is a rule that says disrespect and talking back can get a student suspended. That appears to the school's position that Asante became belligerent when the principal told him to take off his heels.

"I don't have any tears to cry. I done cried all my tears. I put it in God's hands like my momma said. Some nights I sit there and I wonder. I do cry. I do," Asante said.

Those probation violations, according to his mom, are failure to look for a job, and disrespecting adults. I asked Superintendent Crawley if Asante would ever return to Charles City High. She said, "I am not going to talk it."  

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