Skirt the final straw for Coffee senior

Published: Aug. 24, 2011 at 9:49 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2011 at 4:51 PM EDT
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DOUGLAS, GA (WALB) - A senior at Coffee County High school is on a ten day suspension and facing criminal charges for disrupting school. His offense, he wore a skirt to school.

17 year old Eric Bivens was suspended from school pending tribunal for defying school personnel.

The principal says Bivens was not suspended for violating dress code but for distracting the learning environment.

Eric Bivens told me throughout his academic career, he has always been told to express himself and stay true to who he is, but he says that is what ultimately led him to jail.

"This is the skirt I wore that morning," says Eric Bivens, Coffee High School student.

Eric Bivens is a senior at Coffee High school.

"school is supposed to be a safe place where you can express yourself and not be worried about discrimination or anything like that," says Bivens.

He says last Thursday he sat in a jail cell for wearing a girl's outfit to school.

"He was all like come with me sir and I am like what did I do wrong, I am in dress code, I checked and he is all like we need to make sure you can wear this because it is nerd day not cross dress day," says Bivens.

"Last Thursday we had a spirit day where students were dressing up as nerd or geeks for an upcoming football game," says Dr. Greg Tanner, Coffee High School Principal.

Bivens changed his clothes, but went to the principal for an explanation.

"He was like girls get to dress like guys because it is acceptable in society but it is not acceptable for me to dress like a girl," says Bivens.

"That is not my judgement of girls wearing boys clothes, because again this issue was a distraction to learning environment, not dress code," says Tanner.

But Bivens put the skirt back on later in the day, and that got him in trouble.

Principal Greg Tanner says Bivens was being defiant and that's why he was suspended.

"From freshman year to senior year they pulled all my referrals and apparently I had 24," says Bivens.

Due to Bivens's discipline history and being insubordinate to administrators and faculty, he was arrested and charged.

"Cost me my education, my future," says Bivens.

Bivens says he just wants to get back in school so he can graduate on time and if he could do it over again he would stick to wearing pants.

School Resource Officer Rodney Courson says Bivens' 24 referrals range from sexual harassment to disrupting classes.

Eric Bivens is suspended pending a tribunal hearing to decide his future at Coffee High.

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