A teenager at Buckeye Union High School in Arizona sparked a protest at her school after she was made to remove her Black Lives Matter T-shirt on picture day. Mariah Havard shared her story on Facebook, saying that she was almost immediately sent to assistant principal Helene Whitman’s office upon her arrival at school.
The vice principal called the T-shirt a disruption, and Havard was asked to change into a generic white tee, which she did. Havard said she discovered the reasoning behind Whitman’s request after a bit of drama that happened when she wore the shirt before. “Friday, August 19th I got into a argument with a young caucasian boy who said ‘black lives don’t matter’ and ‘that shirt is meaningless,‘” wrote Havard. Apparently, the kid complained to the school and Havard was asked to remove it. Before she did, she snapped the photo above.
Havard, though she changed her shirt, believes the school’s policy is unfair, considering no one batted an eyelash when one student came to school rocking a certain “rebel” flag. “While attending Buckeye, I’ve seen a young lady who wore a Confederate flag shirt that clearly supports racism,” she noted, before coming with receipts for those still under the impression that flag is not a symbol of white supremacy. “The creator of the Confederate flag in his own words said, ‘As a people we are fighting to maintain the heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race.'”
Another student, Genesis Santoyo, who wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt in support of Havard, backs up Havard’s claims, telling Arizona’s 12 News, “I’ve seen gay pride shirts, I’ve seen Confederate flags,” said Santoyo. “I’ve actually seen a white power shirt once.” Even to those who are offended by Black Lives Matter, or the notion that black lives have any value, if a white power T-shirt is acceptable to wear at school, then Havard’s shirt should be a nonissue. Likely realizing the hypocrisy, the school has since banned Confederate flag T-shirts as well.
On Monday, 10 students walked out of class to protest what they believe is an unjust policy from the school, according to AZ Central. “When they wear their shirts that say Black Lives Matter, they’re just telling you that their lives matter too,” Roxanne Havard, Mariah’s mother, said, explaining for the millionth time what the phrase actually means, though it seems some people still fail to grasp the concept. Roxanne says her child has been subject to online abuse as a result of the controversy. “They have made death threats to the students here on Snapchat, Facebook, social media,” Roxanne said. “The students that have made these threats have not had any consequences.”