In Houston, Texas, a high school student was among others participating in a tribute of recently slain Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Gorofth. The student, Fatimah Bouderdaben, wore a blue shirt Friday following the code. However, Bouderdaben’s shirt was emblazed with the #BlackLivesMatter tag, which prompted school officials to send her home.
Bouderdaben, a 17-year-old senior at the Harmony School for Advancement, wore the shirt last Friday in support of Goforth. However, the student also wanted to call attention to the instances of police brutality across the nation. Bouderdaben’s shirt not only featured the Blacks Lives Matter saying, but featured the names and ages of fallen victims of police such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner along with others.
The Houston Press has more details:
“Many of my friends were upset about the implications of wearing blue so I made t shirts with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the front and the names and ages of 26 victims of police brutality on the back,” says Bouderdaben. “We were told by the administration to either cover it up / take it off or be pulled from class and sent home. My friends chose to change but I refused to because I was not breaking dress code.”
Bouderdaben, 17, said she and three other students were addressed in their first period class by Dean of Students Meredith Millspaugh about how their shirts were disrupting the school environment. According to Bouderdaben the phrase “all lives matter” was also used, a phrase frequently seen by supporters of the BLM movement as an attempt to shut down conversations about the disproportionate number of blacks that have fatal encounters with the police. A recent investigation by The Guardian showed that blacks make up 29 percent of people killed by police despite being only 13 percent of the general population. Of those killed 32 percent were unarmed.
Bouderdaben says that during her next period class, she was taken into the hall by Millspaugh, who told her she had to change or be sent home. Bouderdaben says that when she refused, Millspaugh began yelling at her until the teenager started to cry.
“She was blaming me for pretty much everything going on in the school,” says Bouderdaben. “She told me that she heard some kids were calling her a racist and that had never happened before I put on the shirt so it was my fault people were calling her that. I don’t think it was very professional of her to yell at me because of my beliefs.”
The school has since aligned with a Houston public relations firm, which has ignited greater scrutiny of the teen’s ouster. According to a representative from Outreach Strategists LLC, students attending the school who are children of law enforcement officials were angered at Bouderdaben for wearing the shirt.
Harmony, via the rep, maintains that Bouderdaben was being “deliberately controversial” in listing the names of the dead on the back of her shirt. Lastly, the school says the shirt violated a school policy of students not being allowed to wear clothes with holes, tears, inappropriate language, logos, messages or advertising.
SOURCE: Houston Press | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty