Student punished for ‘The Prom’ shirt says peer came out to her after hearing her story

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10/12/2019

A West Orange eighth-grader and district officials are both looking at the bright side after the student was punished for wearing a shirt that said “We’re all lesbians.” Justice Cillo-Smith was issued a dress-code violation in late September for her T-shirt from Broadway’s “The Prom” to class at Liberty Middle School. After several media outlets reported on her story, Cillo-Smith said a classmate came out as gay to her Thursday and felt inspired by her. “I’m happy because I like inspiring other people,” said Cillo-Smith, who identifies as a lesbian, “whether it’s big things or just little things like that, that me being who I am makes other people want to be who they are.” Cillo-Smith’s mother Gwen Wu said her daughter’s guidance counselor referenced a bullet point in the dress code that prohibits inappropriate language and hate speech. The principal also said it was disruptive and he didn’t want her to be the target of hate, according to Wu.

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