A 16-year-old male student at Lexington High School in Henderson County was given three days of in school suspension after his principal saw him wearing eye make-up after school.
Kasey Landrum, who is openly gay, said the principal did not discipline another male student who was wearing make-up on the same day.
“I explained to him I put it on after school, and there was another boy who had make-up on all day long and didn't get in trouble for it,” Landrum said during phone interview with Nashville's News 2.
He continued, “He was wearing just as much as I was when I actually got caught.”
News 2 was unable to reach Lexington High School's Principal Steve Lindsay for comment.
An email to Henderson County's Superintendent of Schools was not returned Friday.
“It makes me feel worst than anything has ever made me feel,” Landrum said.
The Tennessee Equality Project heard about Landrum's suspension and decided to get involved.
The TEP is a statewide organization that promotes the equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
“Our concern is the reaction of the adults in this situation,” TEP Nashville Committee Chair Chris Sanders said. “Its not just one of discrimination it is also a bit threatening.”
Sanders said Landrum's case is one of others around the state involving students who are mistreated because of their sexual orientation or support of gays, lesbian or transgendered people.
“What we want to see is leadership from adults not over reaction,” he said. “We want them to create a climate that is safe for all the students.”
People in downtown Nashville had varying opinions about the topic.
“If he wants to do it, he should be able to,” Jordanna Bond said. “That's how he feels. That's how he expresses himself.”
Another woman said the rules should apply to all students equally.
“Once you let one wear it, you got to let them all wear it,” she said. “In my opinion, you can't discriminate.”
A man said, “Whatever the schools say is what they should go by.”
Landrum said his principal reversed his decision after getting advice from legal counsel.
The principal told Landrum he would change his policy and allow Landrum to wear make-up if he wanted.
The decision came after Landrum served three days of in-school suspension.
Landrum hopes his story inspires other teens who feel like they are being discriminated against.
“I just hope they learn that taking up for yourself is often time the best thing to do,” he said.
Landrum wore eye make-up to school, Friday. He told Nashville's News 2 he will continue to wear eye make-up whenever he wants.
To learn more about the Tennessee Equality Project, visit TNEP.org.