A 13-year-old male student in Kansas was suspended from school after he refused to take off his Vera Bradley purse.
When Anderson County Senior-Junior School officials asked Skyler Davis to take off the bag, he said no. Skyler’s refusal caused him to be sent to Assistant Principal Don Hillard’s office and subsequently suspended.
The teen’s mother, Leslie Willis, was called to come pick her son up and take him home. She said, “I was a little furious, and I called the school to reverify the story, and yeah, he refused to take off his Vera Bradley bag, nothing more to it.”
Skyler feels he was discriminated against — he claims that girls at his school wear purses all the time with no repercussions. He said, “I don’t think everyone should be treated differently. Everyone should have the same privileges.”
The school Superintendent, Don Blome, asserted that students of both genders are banned from having bags in “core classrooms.” He said, “We strive to make sure we treat every kid alike and there are classroom rules we expect kids to follow. They can bring [bags] to school. There’s no policy against that. But the classroom rules are that they can’t bring it to the classroom… We are not going out there to discriminate against anybody.”
Blome claimed that students are expected to put bags and purses in lockers during class time.
But Mrs. Willis said the school handbook makes no mention of this “rule.” She is furious with the school and supports her son. She said, “Skyler is only 13 years old. He’s just a child. And if this isn’t bullying, I don’t know what is. I think it is pretty cool that Skyler is making a stand and it’s causing somebody to listen.”
Mrs. Willis also asserted that the school got angry when Skyler spoke out about the experience. She said, “Skyler can speak freely about what’s bothering him. I have taught him this. Now the school is upset because he spoke out.”
Skyler’s story has been gaining so much traction that the Vera Bradley headquarters put out a statement that said, “Vera Bradley creates products that allow all of us to express our individual style. We encourage self-expression through color and design.” Two boutiques that sell Vera Bradley products have given Skyler free purses after hearing his story.
Skyler’s suspension will continue until he stops wearing the purse.
Even though her son is stubborn, Mrs. Willis wants to find middle ground with the school. She said, “We’re going to have to find some compromise in this.”