An 8-year-old boy who wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to school in Oklahoma was forced to turn it inside out and was punished when he wore it again, his mother said.
Other children within Ardmore City Schools have worn their own Black Lives Matter shirts in support of Ben Stapleton and his siblings.
Jordan Herbert said her son Ben was told by the school principal at Charles Evans Elementary School to turn his shirt inside out on April 30.
In a Facebook post, Herbert said she confronted the school about it and was told Ben could not wear the shirt because politics are not allowed.
“My son is 8, he has no idea about politics,” Herbert wrote. “Wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt has NOTHING to do with politics. He’s simply saying his life matters.”
She said she later had a meeting with the school’s superintendent, who reportedly said students cannot get in trouble for wearing Black Lives Matter shirts.
The school’s dress code says “shirts and tops with sayings or logos printed on them should be in good taste and school appropriate.”
Herbert sent all three of her children to school wearing Black Lives Matter shirts on Tuesday. Her middle school-aged son was not punished for wearing the shirt, but she said Ben and his younger sibling were.
Five-year-old Rodney had to sit in the principal’s office at Will Rogers Elementary School, and Ben was forced to do his school work in the front office at his school, Herbert said.
Ben was also forced to miss recess and had to face a wall for six hours in the school office, according to his mother. He was not allowed to eat lunch with his friends in the cafeteria, she said.
“They say no disciplinary action was taken, but making them sit in the office missing everything was modern day segregation,” Herbert told McClatchy News.
Similar cases have have reported at other schools in the district this year and most were not an issue, Ardmore City Schools Superintendent Kim Holland told The Daily Ardmorite.
“It’s our interpretation of not creating a disturbance in school,” Holland told the newspaper. “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.”
The Board of Education may review the dress code, Holland said.
The superintendent told KXII that “political clothing” is discouraged and it’s normal for students who break the dress code policy to be sent to the principal’s office.
Dress code policies in other schools in the district do not make mention of clothing deemed political. The handbook for Charles Evans states clothing “that disrupts the learning process is prohibited” and the principal makes the final decision on appropriateness.
Other parents have posted pictures on Facebook showing their children also wearing Black Lives Matter shirts to school in the district.
A small protest was held Wednesday outside Ben’s elementary school, KXII reported.
Herbert said she hopes the school district will allow her child “to express how his life matters,” according to KXII.