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December 21, 2005

Scottish Pride — Don't Mess With Glasgow!


Nathan Warmack (above, with his girlfriend Kendra Mizzell), a high school student in Jackson, Missouri, last month wore a kilt to his high school dance and refused to change into pants when principal Rick McClard demanded he do so.

Warmack said he was simply trying to honor his Scottish heritage when he wore the kilt, in his Clan MacRae red tartan, to the Jackson High School formal.

The school superintendent, Ron Anderson, is backing the principal — so far.

But now that Scotland's got its dander up — the story's receiving much more prominence in the Scottish media space than in the U.S. — I suspect that Jackson High School's gonna blink first.

Especially if it turns out that the principal said to Nathan, as alleged, "You can honor your heritage in Scotland, but you can't go in here looking like a clown."



December 21, 2005 at 05:01 PM | Permalink


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Posted by: asim | Nov 26, 2008 9:35:50 AM

I agree with Joel Healy, the outfit WOULD have been OK had he worn a belt and sporran. Without it is not a kilt but a man's skirt. I don't object to the crumpled socks or the lack of a formal jacket (although a Scotsman would wear one for a FORMAL) or even that he didn't have a sgian dhu but the sporran is not optional. :) And yes, the length is a little on the long side... But he got his apology and that is all which matters.

Posted by: MacBraveheart | Nov 3, 2008 4:35:47 AM

Honestly. I cant believe that the school gave in. If there was no media involved then I bet they wouldn't have. There have been so many students that proved they were Scotts and yet still served detentions and suspensions because of dressing in a kilt. Why spare him and no one else? There have been many cases and yet no one backed any other student.

Posted by: ee | Jan 14, 2006 11:40:49 PM

Looks like all the outcry had an effect. Nathan Warmack got an apology from the Superintendent of Schools after more than 10,000 supporters signed an internet petition.


Posted by: cc | Jan 12, 2006 9:17:37 PM

I think the kid is brave and courageous, and probably related to me a couple dozen generations ago.

However, what no one pointed out is that the Clan MacRae tartan is woefully painful to the eye.


O, were the wee laddie to hae a better choice!

Posted by: Karen McCray | Jan 11, 2006 10:55:24 AM

You don't have to be Scottish or from the Clan Gunn to sign the petition.

Posted by: p.w. | Dec 30, 2005 3:34:56 PM

Nathan, I don't know if you'll read this, but I think your clothing choice for your high school dance was awesome and completely appropriate. The principal was out of line, especially since you went out of your way to okay it with the vice principal. Of course, I don't believe that kids should have to "okay" any clothing choice which is considered formal attire in other cultures, but that's beside the point. Nathan decided to wear a kilt because he wanted to reflect his heritage, which is respectable and most of his classmates probably thought it was interesting and cool. Here's another thing, though... why does one have to be Scottish to wear a kilt? I think anyone, regardless of heritage, should be able to wear a kilt in formal or casual settings. The decision to wear a kilt should be as unremarkable as wearing an Indian sari, or a Japanese yukata. A kilt is a prefectly functional peice of clothing, and people shouldn't freak out simply because our culture has some ridiculous notions about gender-appropriate garments. A kilt is not a skirt, and if boys want to wear skirts or kilts or what-have-you then who the heck cares? A "distraction"? Give me a break! A kilt doesn't reveal any more skin than your average pair of boys' shorts, and most kids would not need to be told to wear appropriate undergarments. We have far greater problems in our public school system than micromanaging the ways students choose to expess themselves fashion-wise.

Posted by: Leigh | Dec 26, 2005 5:11:55 PM

I can see where each side is coming from. However, did any of the reports show proof that he is of the Scottish decent? Many kids try these things, and when they get caught, try to push it on their heritage. Show us the facts. If he is, then there is nothing to hide.

Posted by: ee | Dec 26, 2005 2:02:15 PM

I read the article about Nathan Warmack and was very moved. I decided to search the internet so that I could sign the petition right away. Could you imagine my dismay when I found that you had to be not only Scottish but a member of the Clan Gunn organization to show support for Nathan and his plight?

Many Americans who come from traditional cultures would love this opportunity to come together and show how important it is for America to show EQUAL support for freedom of expression through traditional dress. I doubt the Principal of Nathan's school would have reacted so strongly if an Indian girl wore a sari or punjabi dress or, if a Jewish boy decided to wear a kippah. What if a muslim girl wears a hidjab to school events? or if another child wears a garment made of kente cloth? I think that the times that allowed for a narrow world view are over for this country and I applaud that.

Many of us who are immigrants (and most of the rest who are decendant from them) feel that an expression of pride in our heritage is also an expression of our pride to be American whether that be through dress, music, name, etc . .. (be that it does not hurt others). I remember when I was in highschool how shyly I asked my teachers if I could be called by my name versus an Anglasized version. When people used to ask me "Don't you have an English name?" It was so hard, as a teenager to stand up for myself and reply, "I am not English and I don't have an English name. I am an American and my name is Udita." Once, I shared this story with a friend of mine who is from Ireland, named Ciaran; he could identify with me very easily. The same was true with my friend Idriss from Morocco whom everyone insisted on calling "Eddie".

As for Mr. Burke, president of Clan Gunn, though it is evident that I applaud his initiative I must state that I am sorry that he feels that other cultures, dilects and such are "forced down (his) throat". I wish that a man who was president of a cultural organization, is looked up to and is important to so many people in our land would temper his anger to choose his words a little more carefully. Nonetheless, it is the sentiment that all Americans deserve the right to show pride in thier heritage that is important.

If anyone else would like to start a petition that is open to people outside of the Clan Gunn organization to sighn, please be kind enough to inform me as this issue is very close to my heart.

With sentiments of support and solidarity,

Udita Markovich
December 2005

Posted by: Yudita M | Dec 22, 2005 4:10:59 PM

Nathan's school district has a school mascot that has been deemed culturally insensitive by a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and by a Native American group. Is it any suprise that someone would ban a kilt?

Posted by: Mike | Dec 22, 2005 3:59:54 PM

Speaking as a Scot I can say with some authority that he does look a bit of a clown.

Scottish National Dress has two accepted varieties. For formal occasions, such as "black-tie" balls (and my wedding), the accepted wear is the kilt, the sporran, the knee-high socks (usually with a concealed knife or skean-dhu), and a short black jacket & waistcoat known as the bonnie-prince charlie jacket.

This is acceptable:

The footsoldiers of the Tartan Army (the world's greatest travelling supporters of one of the world's worst football teams) have their own approach.


This is the acceptable casual wearing of the kilt; combined with boots, rolled down socks, a Scotland top and suitable headgear. Note again the sporran.

The boy was nearly there, but omitting the sporran is a cardinal sin. Not only do you have nowhere for the hipflask & money (kilts don't have pockets), but the sporran acts to preserve the modesty of the true Scotsman by keeping the kilt "in place"...

His kilt also looks a bit long; accepted length is to the centre of the kneecap, or just touching the ground when kneeling down...

So by all means honour your heritage and wear the kilt, but do a bit of research and get it right, or else you finish up looking like a bloke in a skirt....

Incidentally I'm from Glasgow - and you're right not to mess with us - the motto on the Scottish coat of arms is "Nemo me impune lacessit" which for the non-Lation scholars means "no-one messes with me and gets away with it!!

Posted by: Keith | Dec 22, 2005 6:48:26 AM

Nathan Warmack, do not backdown, standby your Clan and its great history. The Scottish Clans of the United States will be with you. Willam Wallace would be proud of you. Do not let those two "Clowns" stop you from showing your Clan pride. Speaking of Principal McLard and Superintendant Anderson, at my age (67), life has taught me that decisions made by people like them are generally the byproduct of excessive inbreeding. Here is an idea, notify the School District that you intend to wear your kilts to the prom. Advise the media of your decision (they just love stories like that) and you may be sure, they will cover it. It will show the world what kind of School District they have in Jackson, MO. Also, here is an idea, have members of your African-American class wear tribal dress to the prom. Lets see if McClard and Anderson refer to them as "CLOWNS". To McClard and Anderson, don't look anymore foolish then you already have, bite the bullet and back off. Let Mr. Warmack wear his kilts. Nathan, the Clans (Kilts and all) of the world are with you.

s/Joel V Healy
Stone Mountain, GA

Posted by: Joel V Healy | Dec 22, 2005 4:39:43 AM

I have to say that a kilt can look really hot. There are socks and shoes that are supposed to be worn with them as well, and short jackets that look great. Different styles, tartans and sporrans allow some individuality in formal dress for the Scots that is not permitted in our society where for the most important occasions, men all dress in pretty much the same tux.

I once saw an article in a Scots paper slamming Sean Connery for the way he wore his plaid, accompanied by a picture of him wearing *gasp* deck shoes with his kilt.

Posted by: cc | Dec 21, 2005 7:47:15 PM

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