Kansas Boy Suspended For Wearing A Purse To School

By: Kristin Tate
92

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.”

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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.”

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Kristin Tate is a multi-media reporter for Breitbart News and BenSwann.com. Dedicated to fearless journalism, she regularly works on undercover stings with James O'Keefe to reveal government waste, abuse, and fraud. Tate was a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Chapter President and Founder. She will continue to fight tirelessly for individual liberty and free markets through new media. Visit Kristin's website at www.TheLibertarianChick.com.
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  • Carrie

    He should get all of his male friends to go to school wearing a purse in protest.

    • Debbie Lewellen

      yeah, and Hawaiian shirts and shorts. and other floral mens shirts, gosh and oh the mens pink shirts.

  • Jimmy

    Mrs. Willis should know that there is nothing to compromise..

  • Jacob Nyhart

    Hmmm, not a fan of the style, but if the kid wants to wear what would be considered an effeminate handbag, then by all means – let him. He’s nto violating any laws, dress codes, or codes of conduct. The excuse given of “they can bring bags to school, just not to the classroom” is bogus. They allow the ladies to do so, and I’m sure this kid is applying a level of practicality in its use (ie carrying books and whatnot), so he should be allowed to do so as well.

    • Sara

      Ladies do so to carry tampons and pads…things this little boy doesn’t have to deal with. Everyone turns everything into a “personal war” when it’s not.

      • JFreeman

        They do carry those things, but on any given day it’s lipgloss and phones more than anything else. Why shouldn’t he be able to use a bag to carry his grooming products and phone? The school says it’s a matter of a rule. If that rule is not being enforced across the board, then the argument is invalid.

        • Debbie Lewellen

          and Ladies, how many pairs of pants/shorts do you own that don’t have pockets or have little shallow ass pockets that your phone falls out of when you sit down, literally nothing fits in them. Wow, I must have some major issues because I sometimes buy mens pants because they are more comfortable and have deeper pockets, ie. the cargo pants I just bought because they actually fit and there were NO cargo pants in the ladies section in 3 stores I’d been to.

          • g.johnon

            well, keeping phones out of the classroom is an idea that actually has merit.

      • Emmanuel Buckshi

        Yes, of course, women everywhere lug around bags that are nearly overflowing with Maxi-pads and very little else. Since they carry such massive quantities of highly absorbent materials (365 days per year, no less), there should be no question of their being permitted to carry bags when men should not. Silly men.

        • Sara

          Girls don’t want to carry a purse only when they are on their period because then everyone will know you are on it. Likewise, girls in middle school or even high school rarely track their periods so they can sneak up at any given time and you have to be prepared. Everyone treated the same is communism. There are plenty of countries that practice this…move there. I’m sick of drowning in everyone’s tears. Maybe if there were less effeminate men in America we wouldn’t be at a constant war with each other because our feelings are hurt.

          • Emmanuel Buckshi

            So what you are saying is that girls should be allowed to have their bags in class so their feelings aren’t hurt, but boys shouldn’t be allowed to have their bags in class even if it results in their feelings being hurt.

            Proof-reading isn’t just to check your grammar, you know…

          • Emmanuel Buckshi

            Also, for the record, I think that the boy looks very silly with that bag… and I couldn’t care less about making decisions for people’s feelings. If you understood my post you’d see that I am not supporting the idea of consistency with people’s rights simply for the purpose of “feelings”. Such nonsense.

          • Emmanuel Buckshi

            I’m glad technology has come so far such that my wife doesn’t need a duffel bag just to negotiate her menstrual cycle.

          • faceplant

            So basically your saying men are bitches…oh the irony/

          • g.johnon

            naw, I submit that pseudo masculinity is the problem. a truly secure masculine male would not feel threatened by anyone elses orientation.

      • Jacob Nyhart

        Sara, this is not a little purse. This is a full sized handbag – one that this young man can most assuredly demonstrate a functional practicality even for a guy (ie, books, paper, pens, pencils – you know, the kind of stuff kids need in school).

      • Leaping Raven

        This does not mean there should be exceptions. If one gender can do it, then so can the other. Rules are either just or they are discriminatory. Which society would you like to live in? It’s easy to say discriminatory until you are the one discriminated against.

  • Last Man Standing

    Or maybe just have his parents psychoanalyzed for encouraging this? This is exactly what liberal ideologies have brought us to. No common sense, no clearly defined gender roles, no personal or parental accountability. Stop the planet… i want off.

    • PaxMentis

      Considering your total disrespect for personal liberties, I second the idea…let you out of the world to make it a better place.

    • jason12321

      Yeah… what kind of lunatic carries a bag around, right? And worse, what kind of parent encourages a child to do what they want, especially if it doesn’t hurt anyone! How dare someone do something slightly different from the herd! Now that you mention it, I think we need a law banning men from wearing pink shirts! Lets force everyone to do what we do!

      But seriously, what difference does it make if he carries a purse? What harm is it doing? Are you harmed by this in some way?

    • Debbie Lewellen

      right cuz a floral bag means he’s not a man.

      • Late

        right, it does.. lol. I mean come on, the issue is not the purse or mand bag or whatever you all cll it now-a-days. the issue is that they are feminizing the children, allowing transgender males in female bathrooms, and its gettingout of control. I am for equality, but did anyone stop to think about straight rights? Or How ‘normal” folk feel? This has recently been excepted, stop shoving it down people throats already. You’re gay, we get it. Keep it to your self. If he wants a purse, let him wear it. But stop the b.s. and being so sensitive. Man.. smh..

        • g.johnon

          think about straight rights? are you saying that if a guy wears a flowery purse that this is somehow a threat to your sexual identity?
          sounds more like you may not be as secure in your straightness as you believe yourself to be.

    • tick tack

      Did you know that Indiana Jones also wears a purse? When males wear it it’s called a satchel. Yeah, I didn’t think you knew that. You strike me as someone that needs to go back to school and learn a few things. Just because hes got a colorful satchel doesn’t mean hes gay. It only means that its the one he found in the closet… That came out wrong… anyways here’s a picture of Indiana Jones with a purse. http://superherouniverse.com/store/indianajones/toys/Raiders%20of%20the%20Lost%20Ark%20Indiana%20Jones.htm

      • Denru

        Satchels are made differently for men as for women. Yes, they hang over the shoulder and carry stuff, but a man’s stuff and woman’s stuff is TOTALLY different. At least that’s how it USED to be. I wonder if there is another underlying issue.

        • tick tack

          The only difference is the color. His mom probably wasn’t able to afford one for him, so he got an old purse from the closet. Did you ever think of that? No, Probably not, because your also uneducated. Look at the picture It’s Not the type of purse that has a thousand pockets. It literally looks like a satchel but colorful.

          • Denru

            I’ve seen that style/color pattern plenty of times on women. Commonly, masculine tastes are different than feminine. ANYWAY, this has detracted from the whole topic. From what I’m reading, if he was protesting the hypocrisy of the rule, then he should have said or done something differently.

          • tick tack

            Yes, his mothers lack of attention to detail knowing that he wanted a satchel and she ignored him over it is detracting us from the whole topic. The school kicked him out, because of a non-existing school rule. That is the real issue. His mom even took the school rule book to the school bored and proved that that rule doesn’t exist, and when they sent her away, she turned to the news. This really has little to do with the satchel/purse/sexuality/anything else.

    • Jacob Nyhart

      Individuality – we used to encourage it in schools. I guess you favor the altruistic nonsense engrained in community standards?

      • Gregg Braddoch

        Try saying that to schools in the 1950s.

        • Jacob Nyhart

          Touché Gregg. :)

          • Gregg Braddoch

            lol – Best response I’ve ever gotten ^

            But on a serious note, public education, especially when funded by a nations government as the one in the USA is, is about teaching kids to eschew individualism and follow the herd – it always has been, and always will be.

            (Currently, the government wants to the herd to like socialism and liberalism, and hate conservatism – this is typical, as it encourages naive young people to be rebellious against conservative minded adults (mostly older members of the population), which is extremely easy to do to teenagers and young adults – They are asking “why” to their parents, teachers, and those with more life experience, and do not yet have the life experience to understand the positions of the older generations, so they accept any ideology that rebels against what they currently consider to be “arbitrary rules”

            The funny part about this article, is it treats this situation as somehow trying to “express individuality” and getting crushed by the traditionalists and conservatives, yet the liberal mindset is similarly intrusive to individual thought:

            One must accept that white males are the source of the worlds problems, and if you don’t you’re racist and sexist.

            One must accept that homosexuality is “normal” otherwise you beat gay people. (Or are like those people who do those things)

            The list goes on and on – One side will argue that Abortion is a woman’s “right” and others will argue that abortion is baby killing – They are both the same, trying to push their own moral values on others – the difference is that liberalism is government sponsored.

    • http://Atomdavis.com/ Atom Davis

      Heads up, you are missing a beer pong game somewhere right now bro.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      This is a truth – I find it rather convenient that a kid starts wearing a purse to school, a principal states that there is a rule to keep purses and bags in lockers, and this kids mom not only supports what he’s doing, but has checked the handbook for the “rule” that she claims isn’t there. This whole thing seems very premeditated.

      • g.johnon

        its a plot in which free thinkers are trying to take over the world I tell ya!

        • Gregg Braddoch

          Actually I was more of the mind that it is a plot to restrict people’s opinions – It pushes a left-wing viewpoint on gender, and this is step 1 “get support by public appeal” and step 2 is “make sure everyone HAS to follow this viewpoint by law” – It is similar to the pro-life/pro-choice debate: No matter who wins, the people lose, because their will be more rules restricting our freedom.

          It’s another “equal treatment” argument, ignoring that laws enforcing this “equal treatment” remove our rights one by one, and EQUAL RIGHTS are the important fight, not “equal treatment” or some other egalitarian naivety.

    • g.johnon

      the world is not going to stop, just jump.

  • tick tack

    How about a national story and letting the nation give your son support Mrs. Willis. That’s pay back to the school. Organize a protest outside the school. And, during that event have the students do a walk out in support of your son. So, while theirs protesters outside the school, ever student there walks out and joins the protesters. That would be awesome! It will give this story more of a national headline.

    • Pickaname

      Very scandalous. Lets make a tv show about it. Maybe the kid can be the next honey boo boo. If it makes headlines there is no need for any sort of responsibility of the parent or child they are encouraged to be ridiculous! Sounds great.

      • tick tack

        I was being sarcastic. But, If you want to start a TV show about it, go right ahead. Just to let you know I wont watch it. Not that it has anything to do with how silly your idea is, but because I don’t to watch TV.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liberty-Above-All/152353438273739 LibertyAboveAll

    The real question here, is do they or do they not allow girls to have purses in teh classrooms. If the answer is that they do not, then this is a non-issue and the kid’s a jerk. Otherwise, the school is pretty screwed up.

    • Tom223

      Good job getting to the real issue and ignoring the unimportant.

    • Tom223

      Kristen could have found more data on this point and it would have been a more useful article. With what was written it is way to ambiguous what the actual situation is.

    • g.johnon

      just a sec here. so you are saying that if the girls willing submit to unnecessary rules and are willing to go along to get along, that makes It a non-issue?
      sounds like the wimpy-ass girls are the core issue here.

      • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liberty-Above-All/152353438273739 LibertyAboveAll

        No, I’m saying that if the rules – whatever they may be – are universally applied without regard to sex, then this is not an issue of unequal treatment or discrimination, as the article seems to imply.

        • g.johnon

          so, if the rules are bad, its ok as long as they are equally enforced?

          • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liberty-Above-All/152353438273739 LibertyAboveAll

            That’s not what I said. Reread and try again.

  • Billy The Kid

    Vera Bradley purse… that’s cute

  • katmc

    Just take off the dang purse! That is a rule in my daughter’s school and I support that rule. I’m glad the school is standing their ground. Shame on that boy for throwing a hissy fit over a purse!

    • Dale Ramsey

      Exactly!!!!! we can not, I repeat we can not have kids thinking for themselves or having any outside of the box thinking!!! they MUST conform!! Children should not be able to be individuals!! Conform or else you WILL be punished!!

      • katmc

        LOL you are funny.
        How many children these days think for themselves? I bet not many. Some follow others, some bully others, some are coached (not taught) by their parents. I think it’s a little strange for a boy to carry anything other then a bookbag to school. What the heck does a boy need a purse for? My thought, to get people used to it so he can bring a weapon in the future and nobody will think otherwise. Or maybe bring some dirty magazines.

        • Tom223

          He may have done it because he knew he’d get a reaction from the school – pushing their buttons.

          • katmc

            True. Seems to be a lot of that going on the last couple years.

          • g.johnon

            not nearly enough.

        • Dale Ramsey

          I’m funny lol let me get this straight. at first you say that you doubt he can think for himself then you say that maybe he is doing to get people used to it so he can bring a gun to school, pretty elaborate for someone who can’t think for themselves. And frankly i don’t give two shits if he wants to wear a purse or satchel It is more about the Government taking our liberties a ;little bit at a time.

        • g.johnon

          paranoia has entered the building.

      • Chris Craig

        Welcome to America. Home to the free……

      • Tom223

        That’s “liberalism” in America. Ironically liberal is supposed basically mean freedom.
        Not schools, “indoctrination centers”
        They don’t teach how to think but rather what people are supposed to think.

        • Dale Ramsey

          Yep just repeat the info given, don’t teach them to be able to think Critically.

        • g.johnon

          actually liberty means freedom, liberal means generous. and the American liberal strives hard to be generous with your money.

    • Dale Ramsey

      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.”

      • katmc

        How old is the handbook? Maybe it is in there but the wording is different. My kids’ school has a handbook and a rule book.

        • Leaping Raven

          Good question. But note that he is suspended until he “stops wearing the purse.” Not “puts the purse in a locker like the rest of kids.” This points to an unstated item, that the girls are allowed to wear the purses. I would think at this point a “spot check” of the rules would be in order by parents to see if compliance is actually happening?

  • Maria Mitchell

    If the child doesn’t want to conform, take him out of government school.

    • DelPasso

      Fantastic.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/MsWildhack Montana

      That is quite possibly one of the most ignornant comments I have ever read. Public schools exist to educate everyone. No one has to “conform” to go to a public school and it makes me immensely sad that 23 other morons would agree with your stupidity.

      If you don’t want your children to be exposed to people who are different from them — you send your brats to a private school or homeschool them.

    • McHeather

      Yeah conform paint the roses red son there is no such thing as green roses. We all must paint our roses red.
      Yeah conform all boys must wear their shirttails inside their pants.
      Yeah conform all boys hair must be no longer than 2 inches.
      I say a yes to conformity is a no to individualism and creativity.

  • Debbie Lewellen

    how do they even think that wearing this bag defines him? What the hell does it matter to them? If a girl was wearing this, it would be just fine. Would changing the color or material pattern then be acceptable if it was camo colored or had some kind of masculine feel to the bag? Who says because its colorful or has flowers on it that it represents something for females. This school would probably ban boys from wearing Hawaiian floral shirts for men too. They are stereotyping and putting these kids into a box. So if he had tattoos, piercings, purple hair, that’s called freedom of expression, but a bag to carry your stuff in is wrong? What the hell do they care?

  • Chris Craig

    Whats relevant here is consistency. If they are enforcing it with girls equally there is no discrimination and certainly not bullying as the mother claims.

  • Nande

    So wait…at this school you can’t bring your bag into the classroom? How does that even work?

  • Gregg Braddoch

    LOL. Premeditated – This kids mom wants attention… and to sue the school.

  • FedUp

    Why is a boy wearing a purse? The feminization of the American male at work here.
    Next they will be asking him to take of his mascara.

    • Tom223

      They can ban milk at the school and only allow soy milk. That way all the boys can get all the estrogen they need and more.

    • Michael

      That’s a stretch. Carrying a bag is only feminine because of YOUR ridiculous stereotype of it. What’s the difference between a purse like the one in the photo and a messenger bag? Not a whole helluva lot.

      • LibertyMonger

        Hardly. Your ridiculous comment is a stretch. A boy carrying a purse is feminine. Period. And if I know these type who want to be different they always want to make a scene out of it as well. He/she probably makes a scene out of it and acts ridiculous if I was her teacher I would tell him to put the damn purse away too!

        • Michael

          “A boy carrying a purse is feminine. Period.”

          According to you.

          Interesting that someone who chose the name “LibertyMonger” is so against this boy’s freedom to choose to carry a purse because of YOUR preconceptions. Liberty for those you approve of eh? That’s not liberty at all. Nice job, hypocrite.

        • Nunyabiznus

          I don’t suppose you carry a computer bag? Or a murse (man purse)? A backpack, perhaps? These are all bags!

        • g.johnon

          don’t make a scene!! just shut up and do what you are told. and for god’s sake, conform.
          libertymonger my ass.

  • Maple

    Is Mrs. Willis trying to lobby for ALL students to bring bags to the
    classroom? The fact that he is a boy is irrelevant. Most places of
    employment, the employees, the managers, AND the owner/boss, keep their
    bags/purses/briefcases in a locker/file cabinet/drawer. They do not
    carry them with them while they’re doing their job. Get used to it. Ben are you previewing the articles that make it on your page?

  • Reclaim Liberty

    What is going on with public schools these days?!

    I’m 40 now, but when I went to school you could carry your bag/purse. Why can’t you do it now?? Plus, there’s no rule regarding bags in Skyler’s school, so it’s totally bull that this is happening.

    People, we’ve got to stand up to ridiculous rules in schools that has nothing to do with anything but control. Simple as that. We need to say NO to it.

    Our tax money pays for schools, so we are their boss. The schools should not have more power than We the People, because schools work for us. Just ask yourself, can you start having power trip over your employer? No way! You get fired real quick and maybe this is what needs to start happening to state and fed employees.

    Take back your power We the People!

    • Nunyabiznus

      I’m with you on this one! This is the reason so many parents are homeschooling! My son wore a costume for his class and wore it throughout the day. One of the principals told him he had to take it off because it was “gang” colors. If the man knew ANYTHING about the colors he was wearing (solid white, solid blue, and solid purple) they represented purity, loyalty, and health. If only he would learn something before telling my son what they meant…my son KNEW prior to MY MOTHER (who made the costume) what it represented.

      • J.James

        SO in other words he wore American colors Then in that case he was not viewed as just wearing the colors of a gang he was wearing the colors of a rival gang instead of the colors of the commie principles gang.

  • Nighthawk

    He was not suspended for wearing the bag to school, he is allowed to do so according to the schools policy. He just can’t wear it in the classroom, and the girls he talks about who bring there’s are also not allowed to wear it in the classroom, they have to put all bags in the lockers regardless of type and he refused.

  • Nunyabiznus

    There are so many more important issues to discuss, why pick on the boy over a bag!?!?!?!? REALLY?!?!?!?!? While others are being commended for accepting other’s uniqueness in the media, there are those with “authority” that allow it to go to their heads. Give ME A BREAK!

  • cjkw67

    wow..this is news, why!?!?!

    • g.johnon

      because it is about authoritarian overreach at the local level, where it could be effectively addressed. that’s why.

  • Josh

    Cool story.

  • Slim_Strontem

    His MOM should be suspended.
    Well, and the media, activist, and government mommies, too.

  • Kathy Barber

    It’s pathetic that boys/girls are not allowed to wear clothes that have guns, flags, USMC, Navy, Army, Airforce, GOD etc. to school, but we’re going to stand up and fight over a boy who wants to wear a purse to school?

    • J.James

      No cause any one that is going to take a stand against any of it would probally take a a stand against it all. esp considering its mostly only true librtarians and conervitivs that care about guns, flags, USMC, Navy, Army, Airforce, GOD etc and no real libertarian or real conservative is cool with any one being treated unequally no mater how hard raciest and close minded liberals try to say other wise. Tho unlike the other things such as a shirt that has an nra logo or the USMC logo on it a purse is not really a rights issue. under the first amendment. So the school probably has a right to not allow ANY one to have a purse or a bag in class. BUT only if they also enforce it equally to every one boy or girl.

  • ax123man

    Frankly the school should be able to make any rule they want. Kids can always go to another school that better fits…. Oh, wait. No they can’t. Sorry, I was having a dream about living in a world where we are all free.

    • Gregg Braddoch

      Agreed – the school system is there to enforce conformity, nothing more.