School Affirmed Student’s Rights Following ACLU Involvement

Contact: Dione Friends, Online Media Coordinator, ACLU of Texas, (713) 942-8146 x 110 or (832) 291-4816;
Robyn Shepherd, Media Strategist, ACLU national, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;

HOUSTON – In a letter to the American Civil Liberties Union, Spring Independent School District stated Tony Zamazal, a transgender student at Spring High School, may wear a dress, pump-style shoes, makeup and a wig to the school prom on May 11. A school administrator previously told Zamazal that wearing a dress would be “unacceptable” because boys have to wear tuxedos and girls must wear dresses.

The school reversed its position after receiving a letter from the ACLU of Texas and ACLU national office explaining that its position was unconstitutional.

“All I wanted was to get to wear a dress to prom, because I wouldn’t have felt comfortable at all showing up in a tux,” said Zamazal, a 19-year-old senior.  “I’m so grateful that my school has agreed to let me be myself on such an important night.”

Zamazal first approached an assistant principal at Spring High School in February to ask for permission to wear a dress to the prom.  When that request was denied, Zamazal then asked the principal, who said she would have to consult the school board because it would be a “community decision.”

“Tony has the right under both federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution to express her gender identity,” said Adriana Pinon, ACLU of Texas Senior Staff Attorney.  “Students’ legal rights aren’t something that public schools get to put up to a vote. We’re happy to see the school do the right thing.”

The ACLU sent a letter to the principal on March 18, explaining that both federal law and the U.S. Constitution protect Zamazal’s right to wear a dress to prom.  The school district responded last week and affirmed that it will allow Zamazal to attend the prom in the formal clothing of her choice.

Amanda Goad, Staff Attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project said, “Like every other student, Tony deserves to feel comfortable and be herself at prom. We’re glad that Spring ISD for has affirmed Tony’s First Amendment rights.”

Click here to view the letter we sent the school.

Click here to view the schools response.

Learn more about the rights of LGBT students in public school.