A former Texas homecoming queen will not be allowed to return to her high school to crown her successor because she wore a stole representing her Mexican heritage to her graduation ceremony in May, the school district said.
Kayleigh Craddock is the reigning homecoming queen at Brazosport High School in Freeport, Texas, a Gulf Coast town about an hour outside of Galveston. Her mother, Cynthia Vasquez, told CNN the 18-year-old had been excited to return to her former high school this Friday to carry on the tradition of crowning the next Homecoming Queen.
But that excitement faded, Vasquez said, when the family received a phone call from the school’s principal informing her that Kayleigh was no longer welcome to attend homecoming because she wore a stole representing her Mexican heritage to graduation in May.
In a statement shared with CNN, Brazosport Independent School District said students had been informed of the dress code before the graduation ceremony.
“The student was asked to comply with the dress guidelines and refused,” the statement said. “The graduate was homecoming queen last school year, however, because of the insubordination at the graduation ceremony last May, the graduate was not invited back to participate in the crowning of this year’s Homecoming Queen.”
Vasquez disputes the claim her daughter was told to remove the stole. She told CNN Kayleigh was the last in line on graduation day and a teacher who approached her about the stole told Craddock to tuck it into her gown.
Craddock, who is now a freshman at Sam Houston State University, told CNN affiliate KHOU that she had been proud to wear the stole to accept her diploma.
“I wanted to represent my culture. I love being Mexican and I will forever be proud,” she said. But, she said, if she had been told she couldn’t wear the stole she would have removed it.
“I wouldn’t have brought it if it was out of dress code,” she told KHOU, “I wouldn’t have brought it period.”
CNN has reached out to Craddock for response.
Vasquez said she recalls other students at the graduation also wearing stoles and feels Kayleigh is being singled out and punished.
She added she also feels the family should have been informed about the school’s decision sooner.
“She’s like, “Mom, you already bought everything. All this money … What now?,” she said.
Vasquez said she’s reached out to the school district but has not received a response. With just days to go until homecoming, she said she hopes the school and the district changes its stance.
Vasquez is not the first Texas parent to speak out against a school district’s dress code. Last week, Darresha George and her son, Darryl, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Texas state leaders for failing to enforce the state’s CROWN Act, a law the protects against hair discrimination.
Darryl George, 17, has spent weeks in suspension because his locs violate the Barbers Hill Independent School District’s dress code policy for male student’s hair length. The family argues his hairstyle should be protected by the state’s CROWN Act because locs are “commonly or historically associated with race.”