So far, more than 1,700 supporters have signed a petition to support a group of Black students from Wagner High School who were suspended for wearing “Black Lives Matter” signs at a school-sponsored fashion show.
Yes. A fashion show.
An event centered on giving students the power to express themselves through what they wear ended in the suspension of four students who used fashion to insist that Black Lives Matter.
It comes during a time when white educators are consistently being let off the hook for making racially charged remarks about Black students.
For example, one North Carolina teacher told at least one of her students back in 2014 that if she had only 10 days left to live she “would kill all black people.” She kept her job and was only suspended for a few days.
The Wagner High School students were also asked to leave the school’s premises for a few days but the timing of the incident is particularly disconcerting.
It’s time for finals.
As students are trying to prep for the end of school year and are gearing up for final exams, an out of school suspension can force students to miss out on important information and helpful reviews.
The drastic punishment for a “Black Lives Matter” sign sparked interest from around the globe and encouraged Mike Lowe of SATX4 Exposing Systematic Racial Injustice, a leading San Antonio group advocating racial inequalities through protest and marches, to create a petition in the students’ honor.
The petition is addressed to the principal of the school, Donald Stewart Jr., urging him to “drop the suspension and any other disciplinary actions” that were taking about the students, My San Antonio reported.
“I personally felt, as a parent, that the discipline was too excessive,” Lowe told the San Antonio Express-News on Monday.
He added that he felt like the school was trying to make an “example of the girls” and suggested a much lighter punishment of in school suspension so the girls wouldn’t miss out on their studies.
But many would argue that any disciplinary action would be too harsh considering that the girls did nothing more than attend an event with signs—something many would argue is a part of their Constitutional right to freedom of speech.
Signatures backing the students have come from as far as South Africa and it garnered even more traction after an indie band called Holychild shared the link on their page as well.
Another concern has also sparked in the case. One of the students was allowed to return to school, according to Lowe, but he didn’t disclose which student it was.
Lowe said he was “very disappointed in the discontinuity” and hopes to receive a public explanation from school officials soon.