Fatimah Bouderdaben says that she was sent home from the Harmony School for Advancement last Friday in Houston after she wore a #BlackLivesMatter shirt with the names of black people who had been killed by police.
Bouderdaben wanted to be part of the #BlueHouston tribute to Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth, who was murdered last month at a gas station in Houston. As part of #BlueHouston, people were supposed to wear blue clothing, reported CW39.
Bouderdaben, a 17-year-old senior, told the Houston Press:
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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.
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 recalled that Dean of Students Meredith Millspaugh told her and three friends that their shirts were disruptive and that “all lives matter,” a common refrain against the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Bouderdaben claims that she was later told by Millspaugh to change her shirt, but when she refused to do so Millspaugh started yelling at her.
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She was blaming me for pretty much everything going on in the school. 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.
Mustafa Tameez, of Outreach Strategists (a PR firm representing the school), said that the “#BlackLivesMatter” part was not the problem, but rather the names of the fallen black people:
We had complaints from students that are sons and daughters of law enforcement that came to the administration and they were quite upset by it. They had names of African Americans that, according to them, were killed by white officers.
Tameez claimed that the school believed the shirts were too controversial and could provoke fights because other kids might be offended.
Bouderdaben recalled that Millspaugh eventually apologized for any personal attacks, and said that the school is going to address #BlackLivesMatter at a future date.