A San Antonio teacher says she was fired for wearing a mask with the "Black Lives Matter" slogan inscribed on it.
Lillian White, an educator at Great Hearts Western Hills, a K-12 charter school, told NBC News she had worn the mask with the slogan to in-person teacher training sessions since school reopened in July.
"I've been wearing these masks, you know, since the pandemic started. I started making them and just hadn't even thought about it. I wore them to work for about a week and a half before anyone even said anything," White said in an interview published Tuesday.
She said she received a text message on July 31 from Assistant Headmaster Heather Molder, telling her to choose a different mask to wear because parents would soon arrive at the campus and the school would rather not discuss "the current political climate."
White said she shared the message with NBC News after receiving the request, adding she knew it would be a contentious dispute with her employer.
The school, which says it is committed to supporting the Black community, wound up sending her home on four occasions for violations of its dress code before White said she was officially terminated on Sept. 5.
Great Hearts Texas Superintendent Daniel Scoggin disputed White's characterization of the events, saying she was not terminated; rather, she quit by refusing to follow the school's policies and regulations.
"The administration of the school worked with Ms. White for weeks, reminding her of the dress code and providing remote work assignments," Scoggin wrote in a statement.
"When at last she wrote to the administration that she would not comply with the dress code, the school was advised by counsel that she had effectively resigned her position by stating that intention and the school so informed her," he added.
White maintains that she never said "I quit," adding she was willing to continue showing up on campus.
She says she never considered agreeing to the school's terms against wearing the Black Lives Matter mask, adding that her face covering was part of a greater effort to promote equality.