Yesha Callahan

School Issues Apology After Making Girl Remove ‘Black Girls Rock’ T-Shirt

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WLOX

A Biloxi, Mississippi mother is upset because her daughter had to remove her ‘Black Girls Rock’ t-shirt at school. Sharika Jolly says her daughter, Makiyah-Jae, didn’t always have high self-esteem, but the t-shirt was something she was proud of wearing.

“Before she wanted her hair straightened and colored blonde,” said Jolly. “I’m like ‘No, baby. That’s not you. This is who you are. You don’t have to be like anyone else but yourself.’ And I feel like she should be comfortable in her own skin.”

WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi

Jolly said that was the reason she bought her daughter the t-shirt, made by the Black Girls Rock organization.

But when her daughter came home wearing a different shirt than the one she sent her to school with, Jolly contacted the principal at Popps Ferry Elementary.

“When I asked him what was the reason for him taking the shirt off of her, he said, ‘You’re right. It’s not in the policy. Nowhere in the policy does it state that the shirt is out of dress code,'” said Jolly. “He said they made a judgment call, then I proceeded to ask well who are the judges judging my eight year old. And he said ‘Well, I’m the principal so I made the call.'”

Jolly was incensed with the principal’s answer and then contacted the school district.

“It took two days but he did apologize,”said Jolly. “I accepted the apology, but my concern is how many other kids have been discriminated against at that school and their parents have not spoken up.”

Biloxi Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan says the principal overreacted.

“The principal said they got to thinking about it. We were trying to avoid a conflict. In today’s world we think about all the politically correct things that we don’t want to offend anybody; probably overreached in this situation. In our school we don’t do a dress uniform.”

“We probably overreached in this situation, but we make many decisions every day. Sometimes with decisions we make even as parents, we go back and look and think I wish I’d made that decision different. I think that’s the situation here,” said McMillan. “If he could make that decision again, he’d probably say ‘Hey, you know that’s not a big deal,’ but you’re always guarding against how do we not offend anybody.”

  1. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    While I do agree with what the “Black Girls Rock” slogan and movement stands for I think it was inappropriate of this little girl’s mother to send her to school wearing that shirt. If she’s allowed to wear that what stops a little white girl from wearing a “White Girls Rock” t-shirt or a shirt that says “Police Lives Matter”? I feel like the mother knew the shirt would cause controversy and should have used better judgement.

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @LibbyFolfax

      The world caters to white people and I am pretty sure that school caters to the white students, so a “white girl/boy rock” t-shirt is not required. Trust.

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @LibbyFolfax

      You said what I was going to say. It is usually against school policies to wear anything witty logos or Slavs. I understand it was innocent but let someone wear something that says white anything, I think we would be in uproar.

      • December 14, 2015 - Reply

        @Mahogany

        Do you think someone wearing a shirt that says “white anything” on it, is coming from the same place?

        I think not. One statement is a statement of pride in the face of white supremacy, the other is…endorsing white supremacy.

        • December 14, 2015 - Reply

          @Jacqueline

          I think what the mother is trying to instill in get daughter is beautiful, I have a ‘black girls rock’s t-shirt myself but in a school establishment you cannot wear that. The school was wrong to make her take it off, they could’ve told not to wear it again.

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @LibbyFolfax

      How about the mother focuses on the social and spiritual well being of her black daughter and not focus on the fears and insecurities of white folks.

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @LibbyFolfax

      I think the mother, rightfully, was more concerned about her child. As I asked in another response, do you think that those shirts that you mentioned are coming from the same spirit as the Black Girls Rock shirt?

      Sometimes, I am very concerned about the ability for adults to use critical thinking and nuance.

      Simple minds.

      • December 14, 2015 - Reply

        @Jacqueline

        “As I asked in another response, do you think that those shirts that you mentioned are coming from the same spirit as the Black Girls Rock shirt?”

        Of course those shirts would not be from the same spirit but this is white people we’re dealing with. This is the same group of people who don’t understand why black people say #Blacklivesmatter instead of #Alllivesmatter. The mother of this child knew exactly what she was doing she sent that child with that shirt on. She put her child in a unnecessary battle. Being proud of being a black girl is an AMAZING thing but school shouldn’t be a place for a shirt like that because it opens the floodgate for other students to wear shirts dealing with race, politics, etc. and then that becomes a headache for teachers and administration. Teachers want to teach not monitor their students clothing. This is one of the reasons uniforms are a good idea.

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @LibbyFolfax

      Not for nothing but there’s no significant underlying culture or history to “whiteness,” so yes that may cause some controversy. However, if a child was to wear an “Italian Proud” or “Kiss Me, I’m Irish,” the principal likely would’ve not have thought about asking the child to change.

      • December 14, 2015 - Reply

        @VicGrimes

        AGREED!

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @LibbyFolfax

      i came to say the same thing, idk if this is school appropriate because I know if a White Girls Rock shirt was worn theyd be up in arms. Adults, sure love it, on a kid at school not so much

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @LibbyFolfax

      I agree with you but to a certain extent: Black Girls Rock serve as a way to uplift young black girls in a world that sees them–and treats them–as second class citizens. Young white girls don’t need a reminder that they’re somebody because society has been telling them and reinforcing that idea since day one.

      I understand what you’re trying to say as far as what’s to stop a young white girl from wearing White Girls Rock. The difference is that it already that they do. Sure white girls will eventually be white women who will have to deal with sexism at the hands of primarily white men, but they are still members of the dominant race.

      Actually, many feminist groups have used the phrase “Girl Rock” and were praised for that because it helped girls with their self-esteem. I didn’t see any arguments about Boys Rock or how sexist Girls Rock was,although I could be wrong.

      If white people were honest, they would admit that our specific kind of positivity is a necessity and not to detriment.

  2. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    There are a lot of words to be said. IN mainstream society, tons of black people are told to ignored their own identity or to sugarcoat the essence of their blackness. We live in a new generation where many black people are opposing this whitewashing agenda. The school had no choice put to issue their “apology” since the T-Shirt didn’t violate school policy. Black Girls Rock is not racist neither is it offensive. Black Girls Rock is a positive concept that has inspired black girls and black women worldwide. That concept outlines the truth that black girls have the right to promote their self-esteem, dreams, and aspirations. The school has hurt a young black girl’s feeling by originally telling her to take that shirt off when that shirt was not in violation of any school code. Even the Biloxi Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan says the principal overreacted. I praise the mother for her steadfastness and for her courage. So, in conclusion of this synopsis, I will mention that:

    #Black Girls Rock.

  3. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    Libby-As portrayed by the Amerikan media: The standard of beauty in Amerika and most civilized countries is the white woman. The Latina woman is fiery, good natured, loves children and really sexy. The over all Oriental woman is cool, quiet, stylized,sexy and highly intelligent. The black woman however, is pissed off all the time, although she can be highly sexual if she would just work at it and do something with that unruly hair. Now tell me again you know what “Black Girls Rock” stands for.

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @Benjamin G

      I do know what “Black Girls Rock” stands for I just think it was inappropriate for this little girl’s mother to send her to school wearing that shirt when it will now open a floodgate for other students to wear shirts with political, racial, religious messages on them.

      • December 14, 2015 - Reply

        @LibbyFolfax

        What’s inappropriate is for you to put the behavior of any other parent as far as what they send their children to school wearing on this mother. According to the story the principal concedes that the shirt didn’t break any rules of the school and that forcing the child to remove it was a (bad) judgement call.

        That you’d use this mother’s choice to blame any other person who sends their child to this school with actual inappropriate text on it is to buy into the white supremacy that blames black people for things that they don’t even control.

        • December 14, 2015 - Reply

          @Reina Benoir

          So when a white person sends their child to school with a “White Girls Rock” or “Police Lives Matter” shirt on there better not be any uproar. If one student is allowed to wear a shirt with such a message than that opens the floodgate for other kids to wear whatever message they want as well. That is the only point I am trying to make. I am not saying “Black Girls Rock” is wrong.

          • December 15, 2015 - Reply

            @LibbyFolfax

            The school admits that the shirt doesn’t break the rules so yes it’s inappropriate for you to try to blame other people’s foolishness on this woman. You have no right to put that mess on her.

            Little white girls don’t need a white girls rock shirt. Their shirts merely says “Girls Rock.” Only Neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups feel the need to add “white” to such a statement as white is default in this country and as such goes without saying. Saying it would be a display of white supremacy which is utterly inappropriate. Since I’m going to presume that you’re not a fool and that you know this I can only conclude that you’re bringing up this disingenuous argument merely for the thrill of arguing.

            I am not interested in fulfilling such a need so on that I’ll have to say good night.

          • December 15, 2015 - Reply

            @LibbyFolfax

            STFU, you are irrelevant and stupid

      • December 14, 2015 - Reply

        @LibbyFolfax

        it’s good enough for flotus …

        • December 15, 2015 - Reply

          @Rizzo

          Exactly.

      • December 15, 2015 - Reply

        @LibbyFolfax

        You are an idiot. Do some research about the organization before posting your stupidity.

  4. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    People really need to stop equating the identity of Blackness with that of Whiteness. Blackness is a pan African culture in the Americas. Whiteness was a political identity created by wealthy white people to unify ethnic whites together against people of color.

  5. December 14, 2015 - Reply

    Biloxi, Mississippi …. explains it all

    • December 14, 2015 - Reply

      @Rizzo

      Yes indeedy.

  6. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    Biloxi, Mississippi explains it all.

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