Oklahoma boys, eight and five, are removed from class for wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts: Mother is told ‘politics is banned from schools’ since George Floyd case
- Boys were made to sit in the school’s offices for the rest of the day over the shirts
- Mother Jordan Herbert challenged the decision as it is not official school policy
- Third child, 12, was the only one not asked to leave class on account of his shirt
Mother Jordan Herbert said her sons Bentlee and Rodney, who attend different schools in Ardmore, were both removed from class and made to sit in the school’s offices for the rest of the day because of their t-shirts last Tuesday.
Her third child, 12-year-old Jaleon, a student at Ardmore Middle School, was the only one not asked to leave to class on account of his t-shirt.
Two Oklahoma boys, Bentlee (left) and Rodney (center), were removed from class for wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts after their mother was told politics is banned from schools since the George Floyd case. Their brother Jaleon (right) was not removed on account of his t-shirt
Speaking to the New York Times, Herbert said her middle child, Bentlee, had worn a BLM shirt to Charles Evans Elementary on April 30 and been forced to turn it inside out because he was not permitted to wear a political message.
Herbert said she visited the school principal after the incident and queried which part of the dress code Bentlee had breached.
She was directed to Ardmore City Schools Superintendent Kim Holland who reportedly told her after ‘the George Floyd case blew up, politics will not be allowed at school.’
When she pressed further, however, Holland told Herbert the school would not be able to take further action against her son if he continued to wear BLM-emblazoned clothes because it was not against official school policy.
The district’s student handbook states clothes with ‘sayings or logos’ should be ‘in good taste and school appropriate’.
The policy says ‘clothing or apparel that disrupts the learning process is prohibited’, but does not specifically ban clothes which are deemed political.
Instead, the handbook states the school principal has the final say in ‘any question referring to the appropriateness of dress’.
Holland later told the Daily Ardmoreite: ‘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’.
Mid-morning, she received a call from Rodney’s school, Will Rogers Elementary (pictured), telling her the five-year-old would be removed from class unless she brought him another t-shirt
Herbert told the Times she repeatedly voiced concerns BLM shirts were considered political, telling the paper ‘I told Mr Holland a Black Lives Matter t-shirt is not politics. I don’t see it disrupting anything’.
On Tuesday, Herbert sent the trio to their schools wearing BLM t-shirts emblazoned with an image of a clenched fist.
Mid-morning, she received a call from Rodney’s school, Will Rogers Elementary, telling her the five-year-old would be removed from class unless she brought him another t-shirt.
Herbert refused to allow Rodney to change shirts.
She later learned Bentlee had similarly been excluded from class for the day because he was wearing a BLM t-shirt.
The incident has sparked a backlash across Oklahoma and prompted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to pen a letter arguing barring BLM shirts from schools breaches student’s First Amendment rights.
She later learned Bentlee, a student at Charles Evans Elementary School (pictured) had similarly been excluded from class for the day because he was wearing a BLM t-shirt