Students Suspended for Wearing Black - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/11/03

Students Suspended for Wearing Black

Some of the students involved. Some of the students involved.

A group of Vidalia High School students were sent home because of what they wore to school. WTOC spoke with the kids and their families in Toombs County, who were upset by the event.

"I've never been in trouble," senior Marty Conaway told us. "I leave for the military in June. I'm three years on Who's Who in American Students. I'm an A student."

"I'm in BETA. I'm in band. I keep my grades up to at least an 85," said Summer Holland, a sophomore.

A group of students got in trouble at Vidalia High last week, and their parents say they're good kids. But they all got in trouble for the same thing.

"My daughter wears all black every day," Donnaline Sconyers, Summer's mother, said.

"They never had a problem with it until I wore black lipstick and black nail polish to school," noted senior Andrew Cheeks.

Summer Holland also got in trouble for black lipstick, Kara Harper for wearing too much eye makeup, and others for wearing black nail polish.

"Since he didn't tell her to change her shirt or go home and change her clothes, she assumed it to mean her makeup," said Donnaline Sconyers.

But Friday, nine students were sent home by the principal for wearing all black clothing. WTOC spoke with the Vidalia High School principal Monday afternoon. He said students were told to go home and change and that they could come back. But we've since learned otherwise.

"One day OSS, out of school suspension," explained Marty Conaway, showing us his suspension paperwork. "Dress code violation, wore all black."

Andrew Cheeks got a ten-day suspension. The other students just went home and didn't return the rest of the day. Their parents are saying they're upset that the school is forcing their kids to miss class time. One mom says she's even more mad about what these kids are being accused of.

"The principal called me and said he was involved in gothic and sadism," upset mother Carol Conaway told us.

Her son and the rest of the kids who got in trouble for wearing black say that's ridiculous.

"I go to church, I believe in God," said Summer Holland. "I have not done anything evil towards anybody."

They say wearing black is just their style.

"I like the way I dress," said Kara Harper.

"I buy her clothes," mother Mechelle Hardiman said.

"I want to be different. They want to dress in brand names, I want to dress in all black. It's just me," said Marty Conaway.

In looking through the Vidalia High School guidebook, under dress code, there's nothing that says dressing in all black isn't allowed. WTOC spoke with the Vidalia High School principal and the school district's superintendent, but neither would comment on camera, saying they couldn't discuss information dealing with students records.

The kids' parents say they're not letting this issue go, saying that their children have been dressing this way all year. They'll be bringing this up at tonight's school board meeting.

Reported by: Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

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