GARNETT, Kan. (KCTV) — A 13-year-old Kansas eighth-grader says he was suspended from school on Wednesday because he refused to take off his Vera Bradley purse.
His furious mother says it is discrimination because girls are allowed to have purses with no repercussions.
“I don’t think everyone should be treated differently,” Skylar Davis said. “Everyone should have the same privileges.”
Anderson County School District officials did not respond to KCTV5′s repeated efforts to get a comment.
Skylar is a student at Anderson County Senior-Junior School. He said he has been carrying the colorful fabric Vera Bradley bag over his shoulder for some time with no issues.
“It expresses myself and I think everyone else can wear it, so I wear it as well,” Skylar told KCTV5′s Dave Jordan.
He was summoned to Assistant Principal Don Hillard’s office after he wouldn’t take it off.
“I went to the office and I refused to take it off, and they suspended me,” the teen explained.
School personnel then called his mother, Leslie Willis, to come get her son.
“I was a little furious, and I called the school [and spoke to Hillard] to re-verify the story, and yeah, he refused to take off his Vera Bradley bag, nothing more to do it,” Willis said.
She said she reviewed the student handbook but did not see a mention to bags or purses. She questions the suspension and the timing.
“Skylar has been going to school since August with that same Vera Bradley bag on, hasn’t taken it off. What is the problem?” she asked.
She said she supports her son and his choices. She said if he wants to carry a Vera Bradley purse or any other type of bag that he should be able to do so without being punished.
KCTV5 left messages for Hillard on his office and cell phone. He wasn’t at home Wednesday night.
Dakota Haight said the situation with his brother is unfair.
“I’ve seen girls wear short shorts. Why don’t they get kicked out? But then he gets kicked out for a purse? That doesn’t make sense. It’s not right,” Haight said.
Willis said she was told that the suspension wouldn’t be lifted until Skylar stops wearing the purse, which he says he won’t do.
By DeAnn Smith, Dave Jordan, Dave Eckert