A 16-year-old high school student in Apex, North Carolina was suspended after a video showing him tear down a Black Lives Matter mural started trending on social media.
Apex High School student Mason Stewart said he found the painting derogatory and disrespectful. The student insisted that he was only expressing his First Amendment.
“The mural on the wall was up there for about three or four weeks, ’cause they’ve been working on it occasionally because it’s an art class, and right when I saw the gun go up, that’s when I complained and it’s still up here since Monday so I tore it down,” Stewart told Abc 11.
The junior explained that he grumbled about the mural to school officials about the gun plastered in the painting and said it was inappropriate.
“It was very offensive and it’s pointing fingers to cops, and more likely white officers,” the boy said. “And I have a lot of respect for officers because their job is not easy.”
The student and creator of the mural who goes by ‘Gracie’ on social media posted the video of Stewart demolishing her work that was approved by the school and wrote, ” Welcome to Apex High School where your mural about Black Lives Matter will get torn down the day it is finished (this was a month of work BTW).”
This guy tore down the artwork of other students about police brutality today. Artwork that had been approved by the administration. This is the same guy who brought an All Lives Matter poster and “don’t tread on me” flag to our school walkout. Im just so done w ppl like this pic.twitter.com/1ElGj7szVw
— big bod jen (@JennaDavenpor15) May 8, 2018
Other students were outraged by Stewart’s actions.
“I find it incredibly disrespectful to the lives that died because they’re all innocent and he’s trying to say it’s freedom of speech, but you’re tearing down someone else’s freedom of speech basically,” Chavis Coachman told the news station on Thursday.
The principal of Apex High School wrote on the school’s website that “defacing school property for any reason is not tolerated” and later suspended Stewart.
Gracie also offered thanks to those who supported her.
My Response. pic.twitter.com/yuiLRD4X0l
— Grac(yee)ie (@gracie_e_s) May 11, 2018