Ariz. High School Student Forced to Remove ‘Black Lives Matter’ Shirt

Angela Bronner Helm
Mariah Havard was asked to remove her “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt after another student at her high school complained on Aug. 23, 2016, in Buckeye, Ariz.
KPNX screenshot

A 10th-grade student in Arizona who arrived at her high school picture day in a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt was told to take it off because it violated the school’s dress code, reports KPNX.

Mariah Havard wore her tee to Buckeye High School and was told to go to the office, where the assistant principal cited the school's dress code policy, which bans clothing and accessories that can "disrupt the education process.”


“I wasn't able to wear the shirt anymore because somebody made a complaint,” Mariah said. “I was a little bit confused as to why I wouldn't be able to wear something so meaningful to me.”

The outlet reports Mariah immediately called her mother.

“She was asked to change and she didn't question them—she was being respectful,” said Roxanne Havard, Mariah’s mother. “She went in the bathroom and was thinking about why she had to change.”

Harvard, who spoke to the principal of the high school and district superintendent Thursday morning, two days after the incident, said she feels that Mariah was singled out. She also noted that it should not be up to another student to decide what’s offensive.

Mariah’s family and others believe the 15-year-old was treated unfairly, especially because there have been other shirts worn by students that some may deem offensive.


“I've seen gay-pride shirts, I've seen Confederate flags,” said Genesis Santoyo, an African-American student at the school. “I've actually seen a white power shirt once.”

Genesis and Mariah showed News 12 social media pictures of students wearing T-shirts of the Confederate flag at school.


Genesis wore a BLM T-shirt to school in support of Mariah and says she was also asked to change. “I felt like I was being punished for who I am,” said Genesis.

Genesis also says it was only after she claimed a double standard that the school announced Confederate-flag clothing would also no longer be accepted on campus.


As if the two shirts are comparable.

Read more at KPNX.

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