This time, a 16-year-old student named Philipp Penning is making waves in his school.
As noted by Teen Vogue, after nailing the role of Edna in the school’s production of Hairspray, Penning, who attends Telford’s Charlton School in the U.K., was given the honor of preparing the school’s final assembly of the year, along with several classmates.
“We had the job of planning the Leavers’ Assembly and we had the help of a teacher, Penning explained to the Birmingham Mail. “Recently, I performed in the school’s production of Hairspray as the character Edna. The teacher who was helping us was very impressed by the performance and suggested I did something related to that. I thought this was a brilliant idea. However, when I spoke to the other teachers about wearing a dress for the Leavers’ Assembly and possibly even wearing drag, they said they needed to think about it,” said the teen.
That’s when things got complicated. That same day, the eager student was crushed when he was told he couldn’t perform. However, a band of angry students rallied behind their classmate and launched a petition in support of getting Penning on stage. A Facebook group and website were also set up, called Justice for Philipp. After receiving 283 signatures, the school was forced to overturn the ban.
While most school dress code stories end in turmoil or remain an outstanding concern, this happy ending is incredibly hopeful. Not to mention: A big shout-out to the many students who quickly came together to show their support in a productive way.
At the assembly on May 12, Penning celebrated the victory appearing in sky-high heels and a fitted red dress. Penning performed to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Well played, Philipp. Though it’s clear he wasn’t afraid...or petrified.
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