1. Girl Fights For Her Right To Play Football…And Wins
After being told she couldn’t play football because girl’s aren’t allowed to play contact sports, 12-year-old Makhaela Jenkins challenged her school district’s policies. Noting that she’d already been playing organized team football, Makhaela fought her Baltimore, Ohio school’s decision and won! After facing an enormous backlash from the public, the school backed down, allowing Makhaela to try out for the team. “Some people have different goals and dreams they want to follow, and if they want to play a sport, (they) should be able to play a sport no matter what gender you are.”
2. Lesbian Teen Elected Homecoming King
Long Island student and, at that time, 17-year-old girl Faith Shepard ran for homecoming king in 2013, not because she wanted to win but because she wanted to shine a light on the discrimination that transgender teens face, specifically her friend Regina. So, she got her name on the ballot and the students voted her in. The school and community weren’t happy and even considered making a new rule barring girls from being homecoming king but Faith says she did it to make a point. “Transgenders don’t get equal roles in society. Transgenders aren’t always treated very nicely in society. This is me standing up for transgenders and my friend.” The School Board ultimately ruled that men or women could run for homecoming king or queen.
3. Teens Challenge The Notion That Girls Are A “Distraction”
Just last week, 100 South Carolina high school students took part in a protest against their school’s dress codes which includes banning short shorts, strapless dresses, spaghetti straps, and sunglasses among other things because they could cause they aren’t considered “appropriate”. Girls protesting the school’s code wore scarlet “A’s” to as well as sending the hashtags #NotADistraction and #NotADistractionSOA into trending status.
4. School Bans Disabled Girl’s Service Dog
Devyn Pereira is a 7-year-old from New York who suffers from Angelman Syndrome which looks a lot like epilepsy and autism symptoms-wise. To help her stay focused in school she has a service dog named Hannah. Amazingly, Hannah is also able to tell when Devyn is about to suffer a seizure making her invaluable for helping to keep Devyn safe. However this wasn’t enough reason to allow Hannah to accompany Devyn to her Rochester school and the family has been required to also pay $25,000 over the last year for a dog handler to go to school with Devyn every day to keep Hannah under wraps.
Devyn and her family think it’s unreasonable as does the U.S. Justice Department who have now sued the school on Devyn’s behalf.
5. Girls Fight Against “Shaming” Dress Code
Maggie Sunseri of Woodford County, Kentucky took her opposition to her schools’ dress code to the next level, creating a documentary on just how the her school’s restrictive dress codes make the female students at the school feel. Here’s why she made it.
“I made this documentary for a filmmaking class project, but I also just really wanted to show the reality of the WCHS dress code and all other school dress codes. I think that there needs to be an open discussion when it comes to the issues presented in this film, and I think that by showing how the dress code affects real high schoolers, it could open the door for the amendment or abolition of the dress code.”
6. Fifth Grader Stands Up To School’s Insane “ChapStick Policy”
Eleven year old Grace Karaffa has a lip problem. More specifically she has a dry lip problem that results in her lips chapping badly and sometimes even cracking and bleeding. To fix the problem she uses ChapStick which is just vaseline in a tube to protect her lips. Her school said no and even went so far as trying to label ChapStick “over the counter medicine” which it isn’t.
To fight back and not have to suffer bleeding lips during class, Grace put together a presentation for the county’s school board as to why the policy should be overturned. The best part from the presentation is when a board member asked her if ChapStick might serve as a “distraction” from her school work. Karaffa’s response was “I think it would be more distracting to have bleeding lips while I’m doing my work.” The board overturned the policy shortly afterward.
7. Black Girl Threatened With Expulsion Over Her Hair
Vanessa VanDyke was a 12-year-old African American student at a Florida private school who decided to let her hair be natural. As a result, she ended up being teased about it by some of her white classmates. Instead of putting an end to the bullying, the school instead gave Vanessa a week to style her hair according to the school handbook which was presumably written by Caucasians with Caucasians in mind.
Vanessa and her family stood strong on the issue though and the school backed down soon after her situation was publicized broadly.