What a Drag: Male Student Banned From Prom

After steering their dress-loving prom court hopeful from "king" to "queen," Flanagan High issued a suspension that kept Omar Bonilla from attending at all

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Epicurean Society

    After they helped steer him from the "king" to "queen" category as he ran for prom glory, Flanagan High senior Omar Bonilla says school officials sabotaged his prom altogether.

    Bonilla received a two-day suspension on Thursday that banned him from attending Friday night's prom, which he planned to do in a sequined blue dress. School spokesman Nadine Drew told the Miami Herald his sentence was for "unruly behavior," but Bonilla believes it's because school officials were looking for an excuse to keep Baby in a corner.

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    "Someone’s ruining my dreams!" Bonilla told justnews.com. "I was trying to fight for my rights, but it didn’t work."

    The controversy started after Bonilla carried momentum out of the closet and into a run for prom king, with the stated intention of doing so in a dress. The school appeared helpful at first: officials ran the idea through higher-ups, who approved but suggested he might run for queen instead.

    Bonilla, who preferred the second category, was thrilled. He posted "Vote Omar" signs about the Pembroke Pines campus and agreed that, if he were elected, the prom king could forego the traditional king-queen dance. 

    But school officials shortly began insisting Bonilla wear a tuxedo to the prom instead, saying rumors indicated Bonilla might not be safe at the hands of other students if he showed up in sequins. 

    Bonilla's second of two sit-downs on the subject with principal Sharon Shaulis was set for Thursday, and he was running late when he parked in a visitor's spot and dashed toward her office.

    A school officer says he asked Bonilla to move his car and Bonilla acknowledged but ignored the request; Bonilla says he was rushing franticly and didn't hear.

    Just hours after refusing Shaulis' repeated request that he wear a tux, and on the same day announced election results showed he came in a close second for prom queen, Bonilla was issued the suspension and his blue sequined dream deflated like days-old prom balloons.

    Bonilla, who says Flanagan is a generally accepting place of gay students, hasn't indicated he plans to take any action against the school. But Gail Rolf of California's non-profit educational support service Project 10 told the Herald Bonilla might have a case.

    "The question is, would they have suspended another student for the exact same behavior?'' she asked. "Because if not, that's a lawsuit right there."