Mother says sons were removed from Oklahoma classrooms for Black Lives Matter t-shirts
A mother in Oklahoma said two of her young sons, ages 8 and 5 years old, were removed from classrooms at their respective schools in Ardmore last week for wearing shirts that read Black Lives Matter.
Jordan Herbert told The New York Times that her sons, who attend different schools in the same district, were taken out of their classes last Tuesday after officials said the shirts were political and they couldn’t wear them to school.
Herbert said her two kids had to sit in the schools’ offices for the rest of the day.
She added that her 8-year-old son, Bentlee, had earlier worn a Black Lives Matter shirt to school on April 30.
Herbert said Bentlee was told by his school’s principal at the time that he wasn’t permitted to wear the shirt and would have to turn it inside out. Herbert said Bentlee had to wear the shirt that way for the rest of the day.
Herbert said shortly after finding out what happened, she went to the school to question the principal about its dress code. Instead, Herbert said the principal pointed her to Ardmore City Schools Superintendent Kim Holland for answers.
She told the Times that Holland said “when the George Floyd case blew up ,that politics will not be allowed at school.”
“I told him, once again, a Black Lives Matter T-shirt is not politics,” she said.
Herbert said she also pressed the superintendent about the school’s policy and asked what officials would do if her kids went to school in Black Lives Matter shirts again.
“He told me nothing could be done because it wasn’t against policy,” Herbert told the Times.
While an online copy of the district’s student handbook states that clothing with “sayings or logos” should be “in good taste and school appropriate,” the section does not include specific language barring clothing for being political.
But the policy says any “clothing or apparel that disrupts the learning process is prohibited” and that the principal “shall make the final decision concerning any question referring to the appropriateness of dress.”
“I don’t see Black Lives Matter disrupting anything,” Herbert told the Times.
So, Herbert said she sent three of her kids to school the following day in Black Lives Matter shirts.
She said the oldest son, who is 12 and is in middle school, was the only one who wasn’t punished for wearing the shirt.
The incident has already prompted pushback from the ACLU of Oklahoma, which said in a letter to district officials that the students’ choices to wear the shirts are protected by their First Amendment rights, according to the Times.
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