Reaction to clothing controversy

Published: Mar. 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM EST
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CHARLES CITY, VA (WWBT) – Strong opinions posted on facebook after our 12 on Your Side report about a 17-year-old student who believes the principal kicked him out of school for being gay and wearing high heels. 

Viewers weighed in on the controversy in the halls of Charles City High School. Their comments are across the board from intense, to supportive, to downright mean. Asante Cotman's story started a dialogue that he hopes will result in positive changes at Charles City High.

"I'm not advertising. I'm being myself. Advertising would be I'm wearing revealing clothes. I'm not trying to show my butt...and no. No. No. Ma'am," said Asante Cotman. "I want to be able to be a regular student. A gay regular student that attends CCHS."

The high school junior believes he was harassed, discriminated against and suspended because he's gay and wore stilettos. His principal, Stephannie Crutchfield, would not comment. But the district superintendent framed it as the 6 inch stilettos being a safety issue and promises an investigation.

"That is not our mission. I am not aware of him being unhappy here. Whenever I come over he hugs me, we have a nice conversation. So, I'm not really aware of him not being happy. It's a situation where I'll have to investigate," said Superintendent Janet Crawley.

On facebook, Janet Franklin writes, "We try so hard to keep our kids in school to get the education they need, who cares what's on their feet."

Darlene Trent says, "He shouldn't be kicked out of school. It doesn't matter what he wears as long as it's within school policy."

Kimberly Goad has a problem with the school administrators pressuring the family to stop the story and says students should protest. Jacque Fisher says the answer to the dos and don'ts for male vs. female is to change the dress attire to uniforms.

DIANE: "What are you wearing when you go back?"
ASANTE: "I'm not going to wear those hells because I do not want to put on a scene and I'm not going to get kicked out again."

Asante is supposed to return to school Monday. Friday, is the last day of his suspension. He tells me he wants to wear heels but will not, at least until he gets some clarity on his legal rights. 

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