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Celtic Radio Community > Polls > MN Youth Fights For His Kilt

Posted by: Macfive 24-Apr-2005, 01:43 PM
Eric Schulzetenburg is a 17 year old junior at Albany Area High School. His refusal to part with his Kilt has made his clansmen proud.

During his girlfriends prom, he refused to part with his Tartan Kilt, Prince Charlie jacket, formal sporran, hose and flashes. The teachers said it did not fit the dress code.

Read about the whole story from the Pioneer Press:

And then vote in our poll about this issue!

Posted by: MDF3530 24-Apr-2005, 01:57 PM
I'm sorry, but it really gets my goat when in this so-called "politically correct" society, some people are totally ignorant of traditional formal garb.

Kudos to the kid for standing on principles.

Posted by: Tassiecelt 25-Apr-2005, 08:28 AM
I heard about this from, I hope the school wakes up a bit. The kilt is a wonderful and often very formal garment to wear.

It make no sense to ban it.

Well done eric, for making a stand!

Posted by: stevenpd 25-Apr-2005, 12:44 PM
Highly discriminatory.

Posted on Sun, Apr. 24, 2005; Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Rob Roy MacGregor ?...


Scots rush to aid kilt-clad teen

William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Rob Roy MacGregor ? great Scots who defied authority and defended their fierce pride in their homeland.

Now Minnesota may have its own contribution to the list ? Eric Schulzetenberg, a 17-year-old junior at Albany Area High School, whose refusal to part with his kilt has made his clansmen proud.

It all started on April 15, when Schulzetenberg was called on to escort his friend Jena Schoniger, a senior at Osakis High School, to her prom at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, Minn. School officials told him his tartan kilt, Prince Charlie jacket, formal sporran, hose and flashes did not fit the dress code, which requires young men to wear pants.

He had two choices: put on the extra pair of jeans he had in his car, or stand by while another boy escorted his date through the Grand March, the traditional promenade in which Osakis students display their finery.

"I was torn when they told him to put his pants on," says Schoniger, who wore a medieval renaissance dress of maroon and black accessorized with fairy wings. "But he's very proud of his heritage. And he looked so hot."

"I wasn't doing anything inappropriate. I kept my tongue. I was just standing up for what I thought was right," says Schulzetenberg, who adds that he did wear underwear under his kilt. "It was a school function."

Because he refused to change, he was required to watch the Grand March from the sidelines, and then went home.

"It was pretty much the stupidest night of my life," he says.

It may have ended there, had Barbara Humphrey not seen a WCCO television report that night about the Osakis kilt flap.

"I couldn't believe that any group of people pretending to be educators could make such a decision," says Humphrey, who also happens to be coordinator of the Minnesota Tartan Day Cooperative, a consortium of a dozen or so Scottish heritage societies across the state.

What particularly outraged her was a suggestion made by one official that the kilt came under the same sartorial heading as "shorts."

"Shorts? It is an affront to my ancestors," Humphrey says. "Far be it from me to take such a thing lying down!"

Within 24 hours she had mobilized a group of fellow Scots with last names like Johnston, Fairbairn and Campbell to write letters of protest to the Osakis Board of Education ? which has been getting quite an education this week on how the Scots feel about their right to wear kilts.

Some writers have taken pains to point out that Prince Charles is often photographed wearing one, and that kilts are increasingly popular at weddings. Others have informed Osakis school officials of Minnesota Tartan Day, celebrated April 6, in which grown men come to the Capitol wearing kilts and cause no trouble.

Some letters have provided lengthy history lessons about the meaning of the clan tartan (Schulzetenberg wore the colors of Clan Mitchell, in honor of his grandfather's mother), while others have made angry allusions to the painful 36-year period in the 1700s in which defeated Scots were forbidden from wearing the Highland dress and playing the pipes.

Most have demanded a formal apology not only to Schulzetenberg, but to all people of Scottish heritage, who, according to one letter writer, "have found your ill-informed and discriminatory action to be extremely offensive.''

"Our whole setup was not to inflame the Scottish community ? we just had our rules," sighed Tim Roggenbuck, principal of Osakis High School.

In fact, he says, prom-goers were informed of the dress code as early as Jan. 18. He says he was told about the possibility of a kilt only a day before the prom, which did not allow administrators enough time to decide if an exception could be made.

"We were just following our policy," he says. "It wasn't anything against the kilt. I've never seen one before, and I thought it was very classy looking. If something had been brought to us months before and we'd had time to look at it, and take a little study of it ? I'm not saying for sure, but maybe we would have said yes."

School policy may have denied Schulzetenberg the chance to walk down the Grand March in his kilt, but he might be wearing it in front of an even larger audience this summer at the Minnesota Scottish Fair in July, which has extended an invitation to him and Schoniger to be honored guests at the annual event.

"This is a young man proud of his heritage and willing to suffer the consequences handed down by uninformed adults. We are proud of him," Humphrey says.

"I don't know," Schulzetenberg says, considering whether he really qualifies as a defiant braveheart. "But it definitely brings it all back together and ties it to you, to be denied your right to show your heritage."

Laura Billings can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-5584.

Posted by: Macfive 25-Apr-2005, 04:45 PM
This is not the first time this has happened. About once a year a story makes the headlines about a young man that is denied the kilt by local school officials.

If America is to be a truly diverse society then we need to accept, respect and acknowledge other peoples culture. It starts with the Schools and this is a good example of not accepting other people's culture.

Posted by: Shamalama 26-Apr-2005, 09:35 AM

There were several "key points" that allowed the school to hide behind their "zero tolerance - zero intelligence" stance.

"... prom-goers were informed of the dress code as early as Jan. 18."

Eric probably should have forseen that his school would do something dumb and tried to work this out earlier. We're reading just too many cases where school administrators leave their brains at home and hide behind draconian and mindless rules.

"He says he was told about the possibility of a kilt only a day before the prom, which did not allow administrators enough time to decide if an exception could be made." An exception? An exception to what? Which leads us back to Kilt = Shorts. Anyone honestly thinking such has no business teaching our children.

Now add to that the statement "If something had been brought to us months before and we'd had time to look at it, and take a little study of it...", the question comes to mind "Study what?" What is it about a kilt that requires one to study it? It's 8 yards of wool, pleated and wrapped around your waist.

And then we end up with "It wasn't anything against the kilt. I've never seen one before..." How can a person make it through high school, make it through college, and move up the ranks to the position of Principal and not ever see a kilt, or know what one is? This guy obviously made it through school on some kind of quota system because he sure didn't make it on intelligence. This was the line form the school that I most found troubling - don't most high school principals have to have a doctorate degree now?.

Good thing they didn't find a set of nail clippers in Eric's sporran - he could have been sent to prison for that.

Posted by: MDF3530 26-Apr-2005, 03:29 PM
Good thing they didn't find a set of nail clippers in Eric's sporran - he could have been sent to prison for that.

Or been denied due process by being declared an "enemy combatant" and held indefinitely at Guantanamo! biggrin.gif

Posted by: Aaediwen 26-Apr-2005, 05:35 PM
How about someone give them a really thorough education as to *why* Scots are proud of their heritage. There's been a whole lot of blood spilt to maintain that identity. Someone give those closed-minded censored.gif a good history lesson! And let the fellow wear his kilt with pride!

I don't wear a kilt, either. But one thing that bothers me is someone not being able to express themselves, and being able to bring a piece of history to the front.
I keep thinking how would be right to react if someone said no to my wearing a cloak. Noone ever has.

*edited as I cool down to be slightly less harsh, removing good southern more-than-four-letter word*

Posted by: BluegrassLady 28-Apr-2005, 10:50 AM
Having Fairbairn as a maiden name, you can imagine that I have always been proud of my scottish ancestory. My father was is in a scottish regiment from Nova Scotia during WW11. Even tho he never wore a kilt, he had the right to do so. To deny the young man the right to wear his kilt at a school function was very wrong. How very sad that the school administration did not have the intelligence to beable to tell the difference between a kilt and shorts!! Shame on them!!!

Posted by: Eiric 12-May-2005, 06:02 AM
In Sweden, you are allowed to wear any form of traditional dress, but when you don't wear e.g a suit, and etc. you are not correct, strange, eh??? Anyway, I plan to bear a kilt on our prom ball.

Posted by: stevenpd 07-Feb-2006, 11:59 AM
Stumbled across this bit of

Teen Who Wore Kilt Gets School Apology

JACKSON, Mo., Jan. 11, 2006

(CBS/AP) School officials have apologized to a teenager who was ordered to change clothes after he wore a kilt to a school dance.

Jackson High School senior Nathan Warmack received a letter Monday from Superintendent Ron Anderson, who apologized for "the fact that he was humiliated and not permitted to wear his kilt" to the dance.

Anderson also promised to train staff in properly interpreting the dress code.

Warmack, 18, said his actions helped fight discrimination.

"It's just one of the walls that needs to be broken down, but I feel I helped a lot," he said.

Warmack wore a kilt to a dance on Nov. 5 with a dress shirt and tie as a way to honor his Scottish heritage. The principal told Warmack to change into pants. The decision sparked an Internet petition and angered Scottish organizations that insisted the student's outfit was appropriate.

More than 1,600 people have signed the petition seeking an apology for the high school senior.

"It's a kilt. It's going to turn heads, but I never believed it would have become what it is," Warmack said last month when the controversy started.

Other schools around the country also have wrestled with the issue. A principal in Victoria, Texas, ordered two boys into "more appropriate" attire when they wore kilts to school in 1992, saying: "I know kilts. Those weren't kilts and the boys aren't Scots."

In 1993, a student in Fayette County, Ga., was not allowed to enter his prom at McIntosh High School because he showed up in a kilt and refused to change clothes.

And while they weren't trying to dress in kilts, a few boys were allowed to wear skirts to class at Franklin Community High School in Indiana in 1997, when a superintendent said different people express themselves in different ways.

Warmack, a defensive lineman on the football team, lives in Jackson, a growing, largely middle-class city of about 14,000 people about 110 miles from St. Louis.

He got interested in his family's Scottish ties after seeing Mel Gibson's 1995 movie "Braveheart," about William Wallace's battle to overthrow English rule in 13th century Scotland. Warmack reads books about Scotland and visits Web sites to learn more about his family's genealogy.

He bought a kilt off the Internet to wear to his school's formal "Silver Arrow" dance in November. Warmack said he showed it to a vice principal before the dance, who joked he'd better wear something underneath it, and Warmack assured him he would.

Warmack's parents, Terry and Paula, helped him piece together the rest of his outfit, a white shirt and black tie with white socks and black boots.

"We knew it wasn't the formal regalia," his father said. "We wanted it to be acceptable for the occasion."

After Nathan Warmack and his date posed for pictures, principal Rick McClard, who had not previously seen the kilt, told the student he had to go change. Warmack refused a few times and said the outfit was recognizing his heritage.

Warmack alleges McClard told him: "Well, this is my dance, and I'm not going to have students coming into it looking like clowns." McClard later said he had no recollection of saying that, Warmack's dad said. The principal did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The school district's superintendent, Ron Anderson, said McClard has the authority under the district's dress code policy to judge appropriate dress for extracurricular activities, including dances.

"It's mainly to protect from the possibility of a disruption or something that could be viewed as a disruption," Anderson said.

Posted by: Donajhi 24-Aug-2007, 01:00 PM
Has there been an outcome to this problem? Pick on kids, how pathetic.

Posted by: TandVh 24-Aug-2007, 01:55 PM
This is one of the reasons we decided to homeschool our kids. School politics quite often are officiated by Petty Tyrants in the quise of public servants. Where are the principles of freedom and individuality our country was founded on?

A brave lad indeed! America needs more like him.

Posted by: Patch 29-Apr-2010, 06:29 PM
Just saw a picture in an area paper re: their prom and one senior wore a kilt though the tartan police would have ticketed him I fear.



Posted by: TetonAndDistrictPerformingArts 02-Oct-2015, 07:42 PM
I know that my boy, and the other boys in the band, have had issues with going to certain dances, especially church dances, while wearing their finest.

I have trained the young men to be respectful & dignified while in the traditional dress, or they will have me to deal with.

I hate when narrow-minded people deny other people the right to wear the kilt.

Although, truth be told... they wouldn't tell a "person of color" that they can't wear their native clothing. Because, as we all know, white people do not really have a culture or history wink.gif

A young man, dressed to the T, in his kilt and other finery, is hard to beat. Young ladies used to like this, but that was a long time ago. I don't if this still stands.

Today... its: wear your better blue jeans.

Posted by: Skinner 03-Oct-2015, 09:08 AM
Our "educators and school administrators" are the product of a political ideology that has permeated the school system for the last few decades. Most are more ignorant of the world (outside of their particular degrees) than the average person. Unfortunately their purpose is not so much to teach how to think, but what to think.

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