Young Brothers Yanked From Class for Black Lives Matter Tees

Okla. superintendent says 'politics' not allowed at school; mom says Black Lives Matter isn't political
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2021 9:06 AM CDT
Young Brothers Yanked From Class for Black Lives Matter Tees
In this Aug. 30, 2020, file photo, Black Lives Matter protesters hold posters as they march through Notting Hill in London.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

Two Oklahoma brothers were disciplined at school last week over their Black Lives Matter T-shirts, and their mom is pushing back. Per the New York Times, Jordan Herbert first got wind of an alleged violation of dress code policy on April 30, when her 8-year-old son, Ben, was told by his Ardmore school's principal that he had to turn his Black Lives Matter T-shirt inside out. Herbert says she was told by Ardmore City Schools Superintendent Kim Holland that "politics will not be allowed at school." "My son is 8 he has no idea about politics and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirts has NOTHIN to do with politics," Herbert wrote in a May 3 Facebook post, per McClatchy. Then, on Tuesday, Ben, 5-year-old brother Rodney, and 12-year-old brother Jaelon all wore BLM tees to school. Herbert says Ben was sent to the front office at Charles Evans Elementary, missing lunch and recess, while Rodney sat out the day in Will Rogers Elementary's front office after declining to change shirts.

Jaelon had no issues at his middle school over the T-shirt. The dress code for the district's elementary schools notes that "shirts and tops with 'sayings or logos' printed on them should be in good taste and school appropriate," with no mention of politics; it does say "any clothing or apparel that disrupts the learning process is prohibited," with discretion on that falling to each school's principal. "It's our interpretation of not creating a disturbance in school," Holland tells the Daily Ardmoreite, adding that he'd feel the same about kids sporting MAGA hats or Trump shirts. Herbert says Ben has since been bullied over his shirt, with one white classmate telling him "his life does not matter." She adds she'll continue to support them wearing the shirts. Meanwhile, other students in the district have been wearing their own in solidarity. "It made me mad and sad," Ben says of his experience, per KXII. Holland says the board of ed may take another look at the dress code. (Read more Black Lives Matter stories.)

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