Man, nothing seems to offend white folks more than a simple appeal for a better, more inclusive world. If you needed proof of that outside of The Root’s comment section, then take a look at Dublin, Ohio, where teachers were told by district officials to remove their shirts with inclusive messages because they were “controversial.”
WSYX reports that Dublin City Schools issued their ban after teachers at Dublin Scioto High School were photographed wearing shirts with the phrases “Black Lives Matter,” “Science is Real,” and “No Human Is Illegal.”
Wow. Those, uh, those really are some controversial statements.
A decent amount of students and parents have spoken out against the decision to ban the shirts. “I beg you to reconsider removing those shirts from those teachers’ backs. There is someone in that school who needs to see it. If they don’t see it, it may be the end of their life,” said one parent at a school board meeting discussing the matter.
Sama Ben Amer, a senior at Dublin Scioto High School, told WSYX that she’s been subjected to racist remarks by students in the district ever since she was in the first grade. “Little comments about my appearance or why my mom was wearing a scarf on her head,” Ben Amer said. She added that anytime she would bring up the comments to the district, she would be ignored. While Ben Amir disagrees with the district’s decision to ban the shirts, she wasn’t necessarily surprised.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the shirts. I have never seen our district do something as bold as that, to be honest,” Ben Amer said. “I think their decision set the wrong example for students who do not experience the realities of marginalized people.”
Over the summer, Ben Amer launched a petition that calls for more diversity among the DCS staff, mandatory sensitivity training for district employees and the hiring of diversity officers. So far, the petition has reached 2,500 signatures. The district has said that while students will be allowed to wear similar shirts, teachers doing so violates its policy on “controversial issues.”
I really fail to see what’s controversial about shirts that send the messages of “stop killing Black people,” and, “Hey, the stuff we’re teaching you in 3rd-hour science? It’s real!” Then again, I’m not white.
District Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley gave WSYX a, well, interesting explanation behind the decision to ban the shirts. “Love is love should be very simple but, again, people pull this out as a statement on gay marriage. I’ve also had people email me saying that statement is related to pedophilia.”
I don’t know who, other than maybe homophobes, is conflating “love is love” with pedophilia but sure, Jan.
Despite this move, Hoadley is steadfast in his assertion that the district is making the right steps when it comes to social justice and the district plans to update the board on those steps during its next meeting on Sept. 28.