Two Oklahoma brothers, 8 and 5, were pulled from their classrooms and forced to wait out the school day in the front office for wearing BLM T-Shirts.
The brothers attend different schools, but the schools are in the same district.
On Tuesday, Jordan Herbert sent her three sons Bentlee, Rodney, and Jaelon to school wearing matching BLM T-shirts.
From left to right: Bentley (8), Rodney (5), and Jaelon (12).
Later that morning, Rodney’s school, Will Rogers Elementary called Ms. Herbert and told her she needed to either bring Rodney a different shirt or let the school provide one for him, or Rodney would be forced to sit in the front office for the rest of the school day.
Rodney did not change shirts, and he sat in the office until school was over.
Ms. Herbert learned later that day that her son Bentlee was also forced to sit in his school’s front office, where he missed recess, and didn’t eat lunch in the cafeteria with his classmates.
Her oldest son Jaelon had no issues at Ardmore Middle School.
Monday of the following week, Ms. Herbert went to the school to find out what dress code policy her son violated, and she was referred to the Ardmore City Schools superintendent, Kim Holland.
Prior to this matter, Mr. Holland told Ms. Herbert that politics would “not be allowed at school.”
He told me 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.
Mr. Holland said the shirts were disruptive in an interview with a local newspaper, The Daily Armoreite.
It’s our interpretation of not creating a disturbance in school.
I don’t want my kids wearing MAGA hats or Trump shirts to school either because it just creates, in this emotionally charged environment, anxiety and issues that I don’t want our kids to deal with.
Mr. Holland admitted there had been similar cases in the district this year, but he didn’t encounter an issue until Ms. Herbert voiced her frustrations.
Most of it has not been an issue until this lady here has been angry about it.
I wish she weren’t so upset.
Ms. Herbert said when she met with Mr. Holland on Monday, she asked him what would happen if she sent her children to school in “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts again.
He told me nothing could be done because it wasn’t against policy.
If it was never against policy why were her children forced to spend the day in the office?
The dress code in the district’s Elementary Student Handbook states, “sayings or logos” on shirts or tops “should be in good taste and school appropriate.”
Any clothing or apparel that disrupts the learning process is prohibited.
The handbook stipulates that principals have the final say on “the appropriateness of dress.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) of Oklahoma has called the incident a violation of the students’ First Amendment rights.
On Friday, the A.C.L.U. of Oklahoma sent a letter to Mr. Holland, Ms.Brunk, Bentlee’s principal, and James Foreman Jr., president of the Ardmore City School Board of Education.
The letter said it would be a violation of the students’ First Amendment rights to be prohibited from wearing clothing that says “Black Lives Matter.”
If the school district doesn’t reverse its policy and allow students to wear “Black Lives Matter” clothing, it must be prepared to prove in federal court how wearing the T-shirts creates “a substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities.”
I think I smell a lawsuit.
Ms. Herbert stated that with everything going on in America she keeps her boys informed, they watch the news together as a family.
With everything going on in the world today, I keep my boys informed.
They know what’s going on.
She said she will continue to support her sons wearing the BLM shirts because they were never intended to be an “attention-seeking ordeal.”
Unfortunately, when Bentlee returned from school on Thursday, he told his mom that two white boys picked on him.
One boy told him that his life does not matter, and the other one told him to just get suspended.
Ms. Herbert reported the incident to the principal, and the principal told her it would be handled.
Source: The New York Times