A 9-year-old Minnesota girl spoke at a school board meeting earlier this month and expressed her frustration over the Black Lives Matter posters present at her elementary school.
The student, identified only as Novalee in a video that began circulating last week, said she saw Black Lives Matter posters and displays of poet Amanda Gorman on a teacher’s wall at Lakeview Elementary School, which she says violates the “no politics in school” policy mentioned at a prior at a May 25 school board meeting.
Speaking during a school board meeting in the Minneapolis suburb of Lakeville on June 8, Novalee said, “I was walking down the hallway at Lakeview Elementary School to give a teacher a retiring gift. I looked up onto the wall and saw a BLM poster and an Amanda Gorman poster.” She added, “In case you don’t know who that chick is, she’s some girl who did a poem at Biden’s so-called inauguration.”
Novalee continued, “I was so mad! I was told two weeks ago at this very meeting spot, ‘no politics in school.'”
Novalee claims she approached the principal about the poster, and said she wanted it to be taken down but that the principal refused. According to Novalee, the principal said it was the school board who made the posters.
“When I was heard two weeks ago, you told us to report any BLM in our schools. Apparently, you know they’re in our schools because you made the signs,” the girl said.
Novalee went on described Black Lives Matter as a “political message about getting rid of police officers, rioting,” and burning down buildings.
She said she adheres to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has friends of all races, and doesn’t judge people based on the color of their skin, but that the posters make her think about race.
“You have lied to me and I am very disappointed in all of you,” she said. “You don’t even follow your own rules. … I’m not following your mask rule anymore then,” Novalee added before closing with a demand. “Get the posters out of our schools.”
Parents and school official quarreled about the presence of Black Lives Matter posters in classrooms last year. The poster is part of the Lakeville district’s Inclusive Poster Series.
A memo containing Policy 535 sent last year stated that the goal of Lakeville Area Schools district is to “maintain neutrality as to all political campaigns and issues.” Critics of the series say the posters reflect the views of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and it’s political position. Posters with the same lettering as the organization were banned last year. Some parents said the poster series didn’t include enough parent feedback and that it is creating division.
But according to parents like Kiki James-Gillman, who has two children in the school district, the phrase “Black lives matter” itself is not political.
“Black Lives Matter it is not a political statement,” James-Gillman told KARE 11 last year. “You can argue there’s a political group– that’s fine. But those three words on their own are legitimate and need to be validated at this time and forever. Because for a long time, it has not been the case. Black lives in America have not mattered. They never really have. It’s time to speak up and have allies.”
According to the district, the posters in the series went through a review process including focus groups composed of students, school staff, school building leaders, and community members. The series includes two posters that have the phrase “Black lives matter” and four that don’t mention any racial group.