A South Carolina teen and Class of 2020 graduate says she was banned from walking at her high school graduation because she wore pants instead of a dress
On Tuesday (Jun. 2), Dynasia Clark, a senior from Lamar High School School in Darlington County, was preparing to walk the stage and become an official high school graduate.
But just before the ceremony, which was held outside to adhere to social distancing standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Clark was told she would not be allowed to walk with her classmates because she was wearing pants instead of a dress as required by the school’s dress code.
“I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, because we’re already here, we’re already fixing to walk but now I can’t go because of a dress code,” Clark told ABC 15 News.
Being openly gay, Clark wanted to feel comfortable in her skin while experiencing this once in a lifetime moment.
“They already know how I am, so they already know that I’m not gonna wear a dress, so I didn’t think they would be like, ‘Oh well, you can’t walk’ because they already know me. I’ve been going to school here for four years.”
After realizing that school officials weren’t going to change their minds, Clark walked off the field and was forced to watch her classmates graduate from the other side of a fence.
“I was okay standing outside the gate watching them graduate because they’re my classmates,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to just go home because I can’t walk.”
During the ceremony, as names were being called, Clark said she was ready to hear her name to acknowledge the hard work she put in over the past 12 years … but she was omitted from the program.
“That was the part that made me more mad than anything because I was there, you could have still called my name,” she said. “It seems crazy to me. It seems stupid, like petty because it was just an outfit to me.”
Clark said she’s still in disbelief about not being able to walk at her own graduation because she had on pants instead of a dress.
“It shouldn’t have stopped me from doing something that I have been waiting on for 12 years. I went to school. Everybody be happy for their graduation day and I couldn’t even experience that,” she said.
Darlington County School District officials released the following statement:
“The Lamar High School dress code for graduation has been in place for more than 20 years. We welcome students or parents who have concerns with any policy or procedure to meet with administration and discuss those concerns.
“In the past, when a student raised concern with the administration about the dress code prior to graduation day, the issue was addressed.”
Clark went on to say that people should be judged by who they are and their personality … not by their looks or what they’re wearing.