FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — Does the word “virginity” evoke discussions of sexuality or religious belief?
That’s the question residents in Fayetteville, Arkansas, are asking after a junior high student was asked by school administrators to change out of a T-shirt that read “Virginity Rocks” last week.
Eighth-grader Chloe Rubiano of Ramay Junior High said she got the tee at a Christian festival last year; on the back, it continues its abstinence message: “I’m loving my Husband and I haven’t even Married Him.”
“I just really liked this shirt because I was always raised that way,” Rubiano told CNN affiliate KFSM. She said she was pulled out of class and given a gym shirt to change into because the message on her shirt “opens up too many doors for conversations” about sexual activity — or lack thereof.
After the incident, Rubiano’s mother, Bambi Crozier, took to Facebook to write a lengthy post defending her daughter’s wardrobe choice, stating she has always encouraged her children to stand up for what they believe in.
She ends the post with: “Virginity is not a dirty word. Wouldn’t it be great if it weren’t treated as such?”
Fayetteville School District Superintendent Paul Hewitt said, whatever the message, the school was simply adhering to its rules about writing on clothing.
“If a student wore a shirt that said ‘Sex Rocks’ or ‘Smoke More Pot,’ they would also have been asked to remove it for the same reason; it would no doubt be disruptive,” he wrote in an email to CNN. “Even positive messages can be disruptive and our schools must be fair and consistent in dealing with all our students.”
As for concerns over free speech, Hewitt said Rubiano’s message has come through loud and clear.
“Just the attention this incident has been given has certainly given the student and her mother the attention they sought. This is not a major free speech issue,” according to Hewitt.
“I suspect this is a common issue in junior high and high schools throughout the nation.”