Edit: Savvy UB readers have pointed out that the Bay Area in question here is the Tampa Bay Area, and not San Francisco. I hear Riverview and automatically think Julie Cooper from The O.C., even though she was totally from Riverside. I’m an idiot. -KF
A Riverview High School student in California was sent to the principal’s office last week because his high heels were said to be disrupting the classroom. Principal Bob Heilmann asked the student to take off his heels to avoid name-calling and harassment, which he agreed to do.
Fair enough. So what’s the problem? Well, it seems like the principal and teachers were the only ones who had a problem with the student’s taste in fashionable footwear.
As a principal of a high school, I have to take the paternal side and make sure he’s going to be okay,” said Heilmann, afraid the boy would be bullied. “Anytime anyone goes out from, quote, ‘the norm’ or anytime anyone wants to make a statement, you have to be willing to take what comes with it.”
Riverview students we talked to believe most at the school are accepting of students expressing themselves however they want, and don’t care who wears high heels — even if they don’t like it.
This is the San Francisco Bay Area we’re talking about here. It’s literally the gayest region in the world. To say that folks let their freak flags fly is an understatement. High heels are hardly going to shock a bunch of high school students.
Sophomore Sarah Strawn says she was in class with the student when he was asked to step out of the room.
“I think it wasn’t really that big of a deal. If he wants to do it, then he can do it,” Strawn said.
“He likes the way they make him feel. They make him feel more confident, and he just likes to wear them,” said Riverview High School senior Hayley Stepp, who says she’s a friend of the student.
Stepp says he’s proud of who he is, but embarrassed now.
Principal Heilmann says any attire that’s a distraction is a problem, but the student guidebook doesn’t specify what types of shoes male and female students have to wear.
Some students really took the issue to heart, organizing a small protest.
“One boy wore a dress on Monday and after we chatted about it, he decided not to,” said Heilmann, saying that boy went and changed his clothes. “I was concerned about his safety.”
Heilmann says he thinks self expression is a wonderful thing, but he did what he felt was best for the student.
He says boys are allowed to wear heels at Riverview — unless students are paying attention to the shoes instead of class.
The student who wore the heels was not disciplined.
Granted, we weren’t there, but we are scratching our heads looking for the problem here. From the sounds of it, Principal Heilmann simply assumed that the student in heels would be harassed, even though that was not the case.
It sounds like the adults at Riverview High School need to give their students a bit more credit.
Do you think a boy in heels is a disruption in the classroom?