A Houston teen said she was sent home from school for wearing a Black LiHouston Student Sent Home After Others Complained Her T-Shirt Featured Names of Victims of Police Brutalityves Matter T-shirt. Fatimah Bouderdaben, 17, also told The Houston Press that she was berated by Meredith Millspaugh, Dean of Students at the Harmony School for Advancement, for wearing the shirt.
“She was blaming me for pretty much everything going on in the school,” the senior said. “She told me that she heard some kids were calling her a racist and that had never happened before I put on the shirt so it was my fault people were calling her that.”
Bouderdaben wanted to support the citywide tribute to slain Texas Sherrif’s Deputy, Darren Goforth, who was gunned down at a gas station by wearing a blue shirt. However, she also wanted to remember the victims of police brutality, and decided to write #BlackLivesMatter on the shirt as well. On the back, she wrote the names and ages of 26 victims of police brutality, including Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner.
“Many of my friends were upset about the implications of wearing blue so I made t shirts with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the front and the names and ages of 26 victims of police brutality on the back,” Bouderdaben told The Houston Press. “We were told by the administration to either cover it up, take it off or be pulled from class and sent home. My friends chose to change but I refused to because I was not breaking dress code.”
Mustafa Tameez with Outreach Strategists LLC, speaking on behalf of Harmony, said several students who were related to law enforcement officers complained about the shirts.
“We’ve got a bunch of other kids,” Tameez told The Houston Press. “We don’t want fights in the school. We were trying to contain and handle her as delicately as possible.”
However, Bouderdaben says that she was taken into the hall by Millspaugh, who told her she had to change or be sent home, and that Millspaugh began yelling at her until she started to cry. Bouderdaben said Millspaugh later apologized to her and her mother. But despite the controversy, Bouderdaben says she doesn’t intend to back down on her support of Black Lives Matter.
‘”This is something I completely believe to be important,” she told The Houston Press. “It’s hard to stand up for your beliefs, but it’s more important to speak than stay silent.”