Teenager Denied Entrance to Homecoming Because of His Outfit

Family Cites Medical Reason For Not Following Code
Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 17:14:20-04

A mother is upset with a local school after administrators refused to let her son into a homecoming dance. All because of what he was wearing.

Debbie Paul was excited her son, who is homeschooled and usually shy, actually wanted to go to homecoming at Braden River High School.

“I thought he looked very handsome, very appropriate," she said.

Everything was going great until Adam’s beaming smile turned to tears.

“It hurts, it hurts on a lot of levels," she said.

School staff told Adam he couldn’t go in because his white sneakers and lack of tie didn’t meet the semi-formal dress code.

“The most disappointing was that they just didn’t listen to him when he tried to speak up," said Debbie.

Adam tried to explain the reason.

“I’ve had over seven spinal surgeries and two foot surgeries," he said.

Adam was born with asthma and spina bifida. That’s why Adam has a service dog to help him walk. But on this night, it was important for him to walk on his own.

“Sometimes you just want to be a kid. Sometimes you just want to be included," said his mom.

Debbie checked the dress code ahead of time and called the school. She says she thought she was speaking to an assistant principal but later found out it was a sponsor with the student government association. She says she got permission from that person for her son to wear his special orthopedic shoes instead of dress shoes. However, the tie came as a surprise. She says she read through the dress code. She saw a tie on the list but believed it to be a description of the semi-formal dress style and not a requirement.

For Adam to wear a tie, it would have meant spending the entirety of the dance in a wheelchair. It would have have limited his already labored breathing due to asthma. Adam gave up and called his mom. Now her Facebook post, recounting the incident, has more than 1,000 shares and 400 comments.

“It was very strict, it was very exclusive of a lot of kids," said Debbie of the dress code.

She wants an apology from the school. Meanwhile the school’s principal , Dr. Jennifer Gilray, is standing behind her staff.She said, over the phone, that the rules were published on the school's website two months before the dance.

As for the pre-approved shoes. She says, Debbie didn’t get appropriate approval from any assistant principal and that students were given a chance to go change their outfits to follow code. The school, will give Debbie back a full refund.