Students Protest at Maine High School After Policy Prohibits Teachers From Expressing Support for Black Lives Matter

Illustration for article titled Students Protest at Maine High School After Policy Prohibits Teachers From Expressing Support for Black Lives Matter
Photo: panitanphoto (Shutterstock)

After district officials sent a memo informing school faculty they couldn’t visibly express their support for Black Lives Matter, students at a Maine high school decided to protest.

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According to CNN, an official for Scarborough Public Schools District sent a memo on Monday, informing teachers that they couldn’t wear clothing or display items that had controversial phrases such as “White Lives Matter,” Biden/Harris campaign slogans, and “Black Lives Matter.” Students at Scarborough High School were upset with the inclusion of “Black Lives Matter” on that list and decided to protest.

On Tuesday, a group of students stood outside of the town municipal building with signs that had phrases such as “Racism Is Still Taking Lives” and “Why Is Demanding Equality Controversial?” Students at the protest told reporters that they feel Black Lives Matter is an apolitical movement to combat racism.

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“You can’t choose what race you are. You can choose your opinion on certain political stances, but because it is about someone’s race, that doesn’t make it political,” senior Mia Golder told WMTW.

“I really don’t know where this is coming from and quite frankly, I think it’s absurd they would ask us not to say or wear Black Lives Matter,” senior Casey Maddock told WGME. The memo, sent exclusively to faculty, was an election reminder and also included “Make America Great Again,” and “Trump/Pence” on the list of banned phrases.

“I believe that Black Lives Matter is a human rights issue. It is not political and therefore has every place in our schools,” Maddock added.

Okay, so, maybe Gen Z is going to be alright after all. Fingers crossed.

Following Tuesday’s protest, the superintendent for Scarborough Public School, Sanford J. Prince IV, issued a statement apologizing for the inclusion of Black Lives Matter on the list.

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“As I now reflect on a communication that was shared by our curriculum director to staff yesterday, I understand that the reference to the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was offensive to many people who read the memo,” Prince wrote. “Please know that inclusion of that phrase was not at all intended to be a statement to make any member of the community feel less valued in any way and we are deeply apologetic for that.”

Prince added that the district needs “to better educate and equip ourselves to have these conversations.” He told CNN that the students were peaceful and very respectful during the protest.

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“That’s what we really want our students to do,” he said. “We want to teach them that when they feel passionate about something, they can get motivated and bring about change.”

The student protesters hope they’ll be able to discuss future policy changes with the school board. It’s unclear whether the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” was taken off the list of banned phrases.

Jr Staff Writer @TheRoot. Watcher of wrestling, player of video games. Mr. Steal Your Disney+ Password.

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DISCUSSION

My aunt and uncle used to teach in Scarborough (elementary and middle school). It sounds like the school screwed up, but they’re handling it reasonably well (assuming they’re now allowing teachers to openly support Black Lives Matter, that wasn’t clear to me). Good for the students.