A Texas school district has allegedly canceled an adult cosmetology program that had been offered for a decade in order to prevent a student perceived by the principal to be gay from enrolling.
Instructor Cequada Clark told The Examiner that Principal Thomas Amons would rather close the Adult Cosmetology course offered through Beaumont Independent School District’s (BISD) Taylor Career and Technology Center than to admit Kwmane Gray, a prospective male student whom Amons believes is gay.
“[Amons] told me he would rather shut down the program altogether than to have ‘riff-raff’ like that in the program," Clark, who has headed the adult cosmetology program since 2009 at BISD is quoted as saying. At first, Clark says she refused Amon's request to deny Gray admission in the program. "The next day, he shut down the program."
The Dallas Voice points out that BISD’s legal counsel had advised Amons he couldn’t prevent anyone from enrolling in the program, but he did have the power to end it entirely. Just days later, Clark found out she had been dismissed, and now says she will seek legal action.
Gray, 22, likened the principal's decision to an anti-gay hate crime. "He never even talked to me," he said. "He just judged me. I don’t know and I don’t care [why]; I just don’t want him to be over any other kids and maybe do that to them, too. He can cause a lot of trouble for students like that."
A Facebook group, "Southeast Texans Against BISD's Taylor Center Principal Thomas Amons," has sprung up in the wake of the news, and currently has 122 members. "We demand that Principal Amons be removed from his position, that the program be reinstated, that Cequada Clark be returned to her teaching position and that a formal apology be issued to Kwmane Gray from the school district," one of the group's organizers writes. Meanwhile, a Change.org petition calling for Amons' removal has been launched and currently has about 79 members.
BISD officials defended Amons' decision, releasing a statement to local news channel KIII-TV: "Due to budget restraints and no Beaumont ISD cosmetology graduates registering for the class, the Taylor Career center is no longer offering an extended courtesy evening cosmetology class for adults. Campbell-Amons stressed that the high school cosmetology program at Taylor still exists. But he said the school can no longer afford to fund the part of the program serving non- BISD cosmetology program graduates."