But it's time for this country to get it together, and we can start right down in Johnston County, North Carolina, where a 16-year-old student was kept out of his high school prom for a while because he...
a) set fire to the school building
b) poured an unpleasant substance over the Prom King and Queen
c) owed a library fine of 73 cents
d) wore a kilt
If you chose "d," then congratulate yourself for reading the newspaper so thoroughly, because David Leix and his date were shown the gate when Leix came to the door in the traditional Scottish male attire.
Leix says he's been wearing this kilt to formal events since he was a wee laddie, and has never had a problem before. Kilts are worn by police and fire fraternal organizations the world over and by men of Scottish heritage. And I checked as many sources as I could, and the answer for "injuries caused to person 'B' when person 'A' is wearing a kilt" comes back a big 0. Nada. Zero. The square root of sweet-who-cares?
The prom that the two teens paid money for and had to miss the first two hours of was called a "Praise Prom," thrown for children who are being homeschooled.
The teenager said volunteers at the door told him the “dress” was too short. Leix said calling a kilt a dress is offensive.
(Sounds like he's learned a lot in homeschool, which I am glad I didn't go to, because there are no Czechoslovakian delicatessens or pool rooms on the way home when you're already home, and those were two places I haunted in my angelic adolescence.)
So there you have it, the kids show up for the big night and some opprobrious mommy turned them away until a friend of his ran out and bought him a pair of black pants, two hours later.
Traci Lanphere is the organizer of the Praise Prom, and she says she has "never had a young man question this dress code. It is my understanding that David felt we didn't allow him into the Praise Prom because of his kilt. I was very sad to hear this because it is not true, as I want every student who attends the Praise Prom to feel loved and respected. His delayed admittance into the Praise Prom did not have to do with his kilt, it had to do with him not wearing the dress pants we required."
I guess I'll have to remain in the column of those who wonder what the difference could possibly be who wears what, as long as people are decently covered up. There are parts of this country where people are just not willing to allow people to do as they please, but I did not think that North Carolina was one of those areas.
I also hope that this yout ("Did you say 'yout'? What's a yout?") will someday avoid growing up to be the sort of adult who tells teenagers they didn't keep them out of the dance because because they wore a kilt, but, rather, because they didn't wear pants. It's saying the same thing in different words while denying you're doing so. It's like saying that a steaming pile of asparagus is cherry pie because it isn't broccoli.
It's a sign of adults with insufficient faith in themselves and the kids in their community. Kilts are legal, so let's stop skirting the issue.