Education Lab

A Clovis Unified student says she was ordered to cover up her gay pride shirt

Andria Zavala in the shirt that got her dress coded at Clark Intermediate last week.
Andria Zavala in the shirt that got her dress coded at Clark Intermediate last week. Special to the Bee

An 8th grade student at Clark Intermediate School in Clovis says she was told to cover up a shirt that featured the words, "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning."

Andria Zavala got the pride shirt from her mom as an Easter present.

But when she wore it to school last week, Andria said a counselor told her to check to see if it was in dress code. When Andria approached principal Teresa Barber and another administrator, she was told the shirt was "a distraction to other people and their beliefs."

She said the administrators then told her to button up her flannel top to cover up the T-shirt for the rest of the day.

The Clovis Unified dress code bans "extreme fashion that draws undue attention to the student" including clothing and makeup deemed "distracting."

The teen's shirt was white with black text.

She said she feels the school's reaction constitutes a double standard, as certain clubs on campus can wear shirts with their logos or beliefs.

"I also think (the shirt) stands for pride, pride in being unapologetically yourself and not having to apologize for your sexual orientation," Andria said.

Clovis Unified School District spokeswoman Kelly Avants confirmed that Barber had spoken to Andria about her shirt. She said the principal had asked the student if she felt her shirt would be a distraction to others, and if so, to button her over shirt.

"She posed the question to the student to let the student decide what her purpose was in wearing the shirt," Avants said.

Avants also said no disciplinary action was taken.

This story will be updated.

Aleksandra Appleton, 559-341-3747, aappleton@fresnobee.com
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