I go to school at Bastrop but they don't allow me to wear a tail is there a law that could help me be allowed to wear a tail at school?
Twilight Wolf (age 15, Texas)
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Dear Twilight Wolf,
Schools are allowed to establish and enforce dress codes—up to a point. Under U.S. law, they cannot have dress codes that discriminate against people’s religion, race, sex, or gender. For example, a school cannot ban someone from wearing a yarmulke (kippah) or a hijab (niqab or burka). If you are transgender and wish to wear a dress, they cannot forbid that. If you are a Rastafarian, they cannot prohibit your hair being in dreadlocks because that is part of your faith. If you are a liberal in a conservative county, they can’t tell you that you can’t wear a pro-Democrat shirt.
They can require clothing that promotes modesty and cleanliness. For example, they can prohibit short shorts and immodest skirts; they can prohibit the wearing of dirty and torn clothing; they can prohibit T-shirts with rude, hateful, racist, and disgusting words and images. Some schools go a little too far in the dress codes. For example, some schools in Texas forbid you to wear clothing that has the logo of a rival sports team. Such rules may exist simply because they have not yet been challenged, and if a student and their family did challenge them, they could very well win in court, but such challenges cost money. I noticed that, in Texas, some schools are okay with your coloring your hair an unconventional color, while others forbid it (one school district amusingly is okay with blue or green, but NO neon! LOL).
Let’s talk about wearing tails and ears and such. These are not protected by laws regarding religion, race, politics, gender, etc. Some schools prohibit clothing that can serve as a distraction to other students, and furry stuff could definitely qualify in that category even if ears and tails are not explicitly forbidden in the dress code.
Some school districts are more lenient than others. You’re in Texas, which is a notoriously conservative state. California—on the other end of the spectrum—is more lenient. There was a Fox News story a little while ago in which they were all upset that California schools allow ripped jeans, pajamas, and tube tops. I’m not sure how schools in this state feel about furry attire, but I bet they would be a bit more permissive. Even so, the stigma still exists even among California student bodies that furries are perverted and weird, and you will still get teased.
Unfortunately, Twilight, the wearing of ears and tails at your school is not a right and not protected under the law, so you will have to leave your fun accessories at home. This is a lesson for you that schools in America are not about expressing your individuality; they are about conforming. If you think about it, being a nonconformist is one reason there are furries today :-3
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