Athens City Schools responds to student's claim he was removed from Christmas parade for wearing makeup

WAAY 31 reached out to the school district for an on-camera interview Monday and they declined, but we still brought you their side of the story.

Posted: Dec. 13, 2018 9:06 PM
Updated: Dec. 13, 2018 10:44 PM

WAAY 31 went back to the Athens City School district a second time to request an on-camera comment regarding Athens High School senior Drew Laney. Laney told us the school band director pulled him out of the Christmas parade for wearing makeup, but the district says that's not what happened.

"If we had done something wrong we would have been more than happy to fix the problem," Athens City Schools Superintendent Trey Holladay said.

Holladay said school officials collected more than 10 witness statements in their investigation into what happened regarding Laney's statements about the day of the Christmas parade.

"That's the process that we had to go through. The administration did a good job at the high school to make sure they covered all their bases," Holladay said.

Holladay said after conducting an investigation into the incident they are confident that no city schools employee did anything wrong.

"We don't feel like we have anything to correct. We feel like everything was done properly from band director to administration," Holladay said.

Laney, on the other hand, isn't in the clear yet. According to the district, he was removed from the Christmas parade for refusing to listen to his band director when he told Laney he wouldn't be leading the band as a drum major. Holladay told WAAY 31 as of Thursday Laney hasn't been punished by the school, but his school administrators will review what happened and see if he violated the school system's code of conduct.

"Him disagreeing on anything isn't a code of conduct issue. Him violating any of those code of conduct issues that would be," Holladay said.

Holladay didn't elaborate on exactly what kind of punishment Laney may face, but he said right now the plan is for Laney, his parent, and school administrators to sit down and talk everything out.

"If hes violated anything or any other student or any adult has done anything wrong we would handle it through our personnel policy or our student code of conduct," Holladay said.

Holladay told WAAY 31 Laney's decision to wear makeup to school has never been a problem.

"Drew has been wearing makeup all year long. At homecoming this year he stood in front of the band and led the band in makeup," Holladay said.

He added he doesn't see the makeup becoming an issue unless it takes away from what's happening in the classroom.

"As long as it doesn't cause a substantial disruption to the classroom, and that's what we're there for is education, then it's not a problem," Holladay said.

Holladay added that normally the school district wouldn't discuss something like this at all because the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects student privacy, but since Laney brought the story into the public first they are able to respond to his claims.

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