Athens HS student says he was removed from Christmas parade for wearing makeup

The student said he was unfairly punished by the band director for how he chooses to express himself, but the Athens City School district said the student was removed for being disobedient.

Posted: Dec 10, 2018 9:58 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2018 6:50 PM

Drew Laney was pulled from his last Christmas parade as an Athens High School student, and he said it's because his band director, Steven Porter, has a problem with his decision to wear makeup.

"They don't tend to like the fact that a male can proudly go out and wear makeup as I do on a daily basis," Laney said.

He said Porter has pointed it out before.

"He came up to me in front of everyone and said, 'What's up with all of this? Just why?'" Laney said.

Laney and his friend, Jateria Cain, both said it's an Athens High School tradition for the assistant drum major to lead the Christmas parade. At the time of the parade, that person would have been Laney.

"Everybody had already knew that Drew was supposed to do it anyways, because we're used to it," Cain said.

The day of the parade, the school board said Laney and Porter got into a heated verbal argument when Porter said the head drum major would lead the parade instead.

"I noticed Mr. Porter yelling. You could hear him, but I couldn't make out any words. You could tell he was really mad," Cain said.

Both Laney and the school district said he was physically escorted from the parade by police.

"I was right there in front of all the other bands that were right there behind us, and they all had to see that," Laney said.

Athens City Schools won't confirm all of this was over Laney wearing makeup. They only said he was removed because he refused to listen to Porter when he told Laney he wasn't leading. Laney said the plan was for both drum majors to co-lead. As of Monday, he's not in the band anymore.

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