Texas teacher fired for wearing BLM mask, says the school is 'supporting racist parents' by staying silent
She began a petition on change.org, demanding the school to implement an anti-racism action plan
A Texas teacher was fired for continuing to wear a Black Lives Matter face mask after school officials asked her to stop. Lillian White, who is an art teacher at Great Hearts Western Hills, a public charter school in San Antonio, wore a face mask that read "Black Lives Matter" and "Silence is Violence" after the charter school reopened in the summer for in-person workdays amid the coronavirus pandemic. Students were not campus at the time. According to CNN, White maintained she wore the mask to demonstrate her support for Black students and faculty, but also to advocate for an anti-racism action plan and a more diverse curriculum.
Two weeks after wearing the mask, White said she received a message from a school official asking her to stop. "Hey. can you start bringing a different mask on campus? We don't discuss the current political climate on campus. Parents will start coming around more now," said Heather Molder, the school's assistant headmaster, in a text message to White, reported CNN.
In a statement to the news portal, Great Hearts Texas Superintendent Daniel Scoggin said the school policy forbids faculty from displaying messages on their face masks. "Great Hearts enacted, in this unprecedented pandemic environment, a policy that face coverings have no external messages," Scoggin said. The art teacher, who worked in education for more than 10 years, continued to wear the mask, despite receiving numerous requests from school officials to not wear it.
"I immediately knew it was time for me to make a decision, and I didn't think twice about it. This is a human rights issue and I did it for my students who experience racial injustice in school. I refused to back down," White said. "If you're scared about what parents are going to say because a teacher is supporting equal rights, you need to reevaluate the kind of people you're catering to. By staying silent, Great Hearts is only supporting racist parents."
Scoggin insisted that the school's decision was about policy and not the Black community. "We stand with the Black community and all who are suffering. Great Hearts deplores bigotry and its crushing effects on all those subjected to it. Great Hearts is committed to an America where racism, violence, and injustice do not happen, because such acts find no home in the hearts of a great people," Scoggin said.
According to White, she was harassed by parents, who saw photos she posted of herself wearing the face-covering on social media. While some faculty members asked her to make masks for them, they didn't join her fight or defended her, when she was fired. White does not wish to fight the termination, but has begun a petition, demanding Great Hearts to implement an anti-racism action plan in schools. It has been signed by more than 2,500 people when this article was published.