82ºF

Orlando teen restricted from wearing 'Trojan Man' condom costume at school

17-year-old says Dr. Phillips High School violated his 1st Amendment rights

ORLANDO, Fla. – A central Florida student wants an apology from his high school after he said he was banned from wearing a "Trojan Man" condom costume during his school's spirit week festivities.

Jack Englund, 17, knew wearing the red cape and blue poster board decorated like a condom wrapper might get him into trouble, but he argued Dr. Phillips High School officials violated his First Amendment right of free speech.

The school's decision was quick. Englund was only in school for a matter of minutes on Tuesday before a teacher spotted the costume and sent him to the office, where he was told he could no longer wear it.

"I don't know who is to decide what is appropriate. The point is, we're going to see it anyway," said Englund, referring to his teen peers.

He said he did it to bring attention to teen sex.

"Statistics say at least half of high school teenagers are engaging in sexual activity," said Englund.

Despite the positive message, the district said it violated the Student Code of Conduct about sexually suggestive clothing.

"I think that the administrators overstepped," said Jack's mom, Sandy Englund, who is also a lawyer.

She said she warned her son he might get in trouble when he came up with the idea last week.

Englund previously prepared a press release, which he issued when he was told he could not wear the costume. In it, he asked the school to let him wear the costume for a one full day, and he wants an apology from the school.

His mom realizes that probably won't happen, but she stands by her son's choices.

"I'm glad that he's willing to stand up for himself and say, 'This is wrong. I wasn't doing anything wrong. It was a positive message that teens need to hear,'" she said.

"It's not the way I would like to get the message out there, under such negative circumstances with school administration, but in the long run it probably does reach more people," said Jack.