A teacher notified the school principal and said that the boy’s high heels were distracting to the classroom. ... Heilmann reports there was name calling, so he instructed the young man to remove the shoes.Does Heilmann even realize what he's saying? If he has children of his own, then I feel sorry for them since his "paternal side" apparently encourages him to tell young people who are exploring sexual orientation or gender roles to "Stop that! People won't like you or be nice if you do that. Conform or die!"
“As a principal of a high school, I have to take the paternal side as well, I have to make sure he’s going to be okay,” Heilmann told Fox, adding he was worried the student would be subjected to bullying. “Anytime anyone goes out from, quote, ‘the norm,’ or anytime anyone wants to make a statement, you have to be willing to take what comes with it.”
In essence, Heilmann is in the namecallers' corner, empowering bullies rather than students who are bullied. He's punishing the student who wore the high heels instead of calling in the students who ostracize their peers and having a talk with them, or better yet, opting to send the bullies to some kind of counseling to explore why they believe they have the right to call another student names. It's probably too much to ask of a school in Florida also to discuss with those students societal constructs of gender and grand narratives about sexuality framed by heterosexual privilege. He missed the higher ground of this teachable moment.
A friend of the student, per the local station says the young man is "proud of who he is, but embarrassed now." Sad.
Apparently Heilmann doesn't keep up with social issues such as bullying or campaigns such as "It Gets Better." Consequently, he'll be remembered as a symptom of the disease students must "get better" from.
Props to the Tampa Bay Fox station for putting this story in context of the little boy whose mother was criticized for letting him dress up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. That mother shared her perspective on BlogHer.com this past November.