By Ashleigh Costello
RED OAK, Texas – A high school student was reportedly sent home Friday after dressing up for his school’s annual “Pink Out,” a day meant to promote breast cancer awareness.
Dressed head to toe in pink, Dustin Drake, 17, was stunned when Red Oak High School administrators asked him to leave. Drake, who lost his mother last year to breast cancer, has been actively involved in raising money for cancer research and promoting awareness.
“I had pink shoes, pink socks, pink tights…I had a tutu…big glasses. Everything was just pink,” he told CBS 11.
School administrators were not amused. Drake was pulled from class and his father was called.
“They said he needed to come home,” said the student’s father, Ben Drake.
“My reaction was a little of disgust toward the school district that they would have a Pink Out and then send people home that were above their standard,” Ben Drake said.
A spokesperson for the district told CBS 11 that Drake’s outfit violated the dress code.
“Students and staff were given the option to elect to wear jeans and a pink t-shirt,” read a statement by the Red Oak High School.
Last year’s Pink Out happened just three days before Dustin’s mother died. At the time, he wore a similar outfit in an attempt to cheer her up. He even made the school yearbook.
“To me, it’s probably the last thing she saw,” said an emotional Drake.
Nobody at the district complained of any dress code violations then.
Red Oak ISD officials say they are aware of how Drake’s mother died, but contend that he wasn’t the only student sent home Friday for dress code violations. The district said parents were given the option of bringing an appropriate change of clothes to school, according to the news site.
The school’s decision has brought much criticism from outraged community members and sympathizers. While Drake’s outfit may have been over-the-top, it was a good-natured attempt to promote awareness for a disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people every year.
District officials should remember that they invited this situation by encouraging students to dress in pink, and they should have a little sympathy for a kid who had a very good reason to go a bit overboard.
While understandably upset over the school’s decision, Drake remains committed to help find a cure for the disease that stole his mom.
“Battling cancer is all a mind game. You have to stay strong in your head to be strong in your body,” he said.
There is no doubt his mother would be very proud.