On Thursday morning, a 13-year-old boy at Ethan Chase Middle School in Menifee, California, decided to make a statement, wearing an Elsa costume from the movie Frozen on spirit day.
As students were encouraged to dress up as Disney characters, Austin Lacey, 13, chose Elsa, prompting the school principal to ask him to remove the costume, which in turn sparked outrage from LGBT supporters.
Thursday afternoon, slightly before 3 p.m., Chase’s mother, Brooke Francev, decided to post a statement on Facebook protesting the matter, hoping to elicit media attention:
Sent to all local media outlets regarding discrimination in a public school:
I’m hoping to get attention drawn regarding an issue that occurred this morning at my son’s middle school [redacted for public FB post only].
This week is Spirit Week, each day is a different theme. Today was Disney day. My son always goes out of his way to participate and is a member of the school’s ASB. Today he wore an adult Elsa dress and wig. Before school started, he was approached by the campus supervisor who instructed him to remove his wig and dress immediately and turn it over as it was being confiscated per the desire of the school principal. He was informed the principal does not agree with boys dressing like girls.
I went into the school a few hours later and met with the principal. He confirmed he instructed the campus supervisor to confiscate my son’s costume. He reported it was a distraction (even though school had not yet started) and stated it was “dangerous.” There were girls on campus in full costumes. The principal confirmed directly to me it was not okay for any child to dress as the opposite sex because it was too distracting. The statement made to me was, “It is not okay for boys to dress like girls or girls to dress like boys.”
Given the recent law changes, I am gravely concerned with this attitude. Since attempting to address my concerns at the school site level, I have spoken with other parents who have informed me of similar situations with their children with this same administration. One boy wore a pink tutu in support of breast cancer awareness month and was nearly suspended for “attempting to incite a riot.” He was asked in front of many other students by school staff if he was homosexual and whether or not his father was involved in his life.
This is a blatant abuse of power and I am hoping to draw as much attention to this issue as possible to prevent this from happening to other students. Please help me get this situation into the public eye.
Roughly an hour and a half later, Francev followed with this Facebook post:
When Austin came home from school today, he informed me the students are in an uproar over the “Elsa dress debacle” and plan to cross dress all next week to show support for the LGBT community. Then he showed me this flyer he and his classmates came up with and will be distributing. My heart is overflowing. I have amazing kids.
The flyer read:
STANDING UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT! PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DRESS THE WAY THEY WANT!
When a male student dressed up as a Disney character on Disney Day at Ethan A Chase Middle school he was told to take it off by a supervisor. That supervisor was instructed to deliver the message by the school’s very own principal. The principal stated, “It is a distraction to all.” He did not like the way it looked. They should be able to express who they are and what they believe in. So to stand up for what’s right, and to support the LGBT community, (homosexuality is not a crime), next week (2/8-2/12), dress up as the opposite sex. This is a real problem and as students it is our job to fix this. So join us in the fight to do what’s right!!!
The Romoland School District responded to Francev’s charges; Superintendent Julie Vitale stated: “This action was taken in accordance with district policies. At no time was there an indication that the student was expressing any particular message. The Principal’s action was based upon the need to stop a general disruption to the school environment.”
Lacey told KTLA, “I wore it for fun. I’m just one of those people who loves to go all-out.”