Beaumont school officials are denying allegations that a principal canceled a cosmetology program because a gay student enrolled.
Cequada Clark, a teacher in the Beaumont ISD cosmetology program, alleges that Principal Thomas Campbell-Amons expressed his dislike for gay students at an event in April, and after meeting a student he thought was gay last week, he pulled the plug on the program.
Clark said she feared for her job but wanted the truth to be told about the principal discriminating against the student and hurting other people in the program, including single moms who want to earn their cosmetology licenses.
Beaumont ISD spokesman Ron Reynolds told Instant Tea on Tuesday that “misinformation” was given in various media reports and that the principal no longer wanted adults to attend classes because of funding. Reynolds said classes were never canceled but adult students were no longer allowed to attend.
Because only two adults were in the class last week, Reynolds said the cost of the adults, who pay to attend but often receive assistance, was too much and they would be better suited if their class fell under continuing education. Adults, including 22-year-old Kwmane Gray, whom Amons thought was gay, can enroll in the continuing education cosmetology class in October, but Reynolds said at least 10 students must enroll for the class to take place.
As for the action in response to Gray’s perceived sexuality, Reynolds said the principal “denied those allegations” and that the decision to separate students and adults was based solely on funding.
A Change.org petition has been created calling for Campbell-Amons to be removed as principal, for the program to be reinstated, and for Clark to be returned to her position. However, Reynolds said Clark is still employed with the district as a substitute teacher. So far, 1,124 people have signed the petition.
“We demand documentation that Principal Amons followed standard BISD protocol in cancelling the course to begin with and that if such documentation doesn’t exist, he be removed from his position, that the program be reinstated, that Cequada Clark be returned to her teaching position and that a formal apology be issued to Kwmane Gray from the school district,” the petition reads in part.
The district’s official statement is below.
“Due to budget restraints and no Beaumont ISD cosmetology graduates registering for the class, the Taylor Career Center is no longer offering an extended courtesy evening cosmetology class for adults. According to Thom Campbell-Amons, principal at Taylor, ‘The lack of funding has halted the continuation of the courtesy program that was developed to allow BISD high school graduates and other adults to earned state required cosmetology hours in order to become licensed practitioners.’
“Campbell-Amons reiterated that the high school cosmetology program at Taylor still exists, however, Taylor Career Center can no longer afford to fund the part of the program that was serving non-BISD cosmetology program graduates.”