A Texas school fired a White teacher for refusing to stop wearing a mask with “Black Lives Matter” written on one side and “silence is violence” written on the other side.
The teacher, Lillian White, defended her position as a “human rights issue,” according to CNN.
White, who was an art teacher at Great Hearts Western Hills in San Antonio, started wearing the BLM mask after the charter school reopened in the summer for in-person workdays. Students had not returned to campus at that point.
She wore the mask to show support for Black students and faculty, as well as to advocate for an anti-racism action plan and greater diversity in the school’s curriculum.
Nearly two weeks went by before school officials had enough. White received a text message telling her to put the BLM mask away.
"Hey. can you start bringing a different mask on campus? We don't discuss the current political climate on campus. Parents will start coming around more now,” the school’s assistant headmaster Heather Molder texted.
“I immediately knew it was time for me to make a decision, and I didn't think twice about it,” White said. “This is a human rights issue and I did it for my students who experience racial injustice in school. I refused to back down.”
The school fired her on Sept. 5 for refusing to stop wearing the mask, despite discussion with school officials about the issue.
Great Hearts Texas Superintendent Daniel Scoggin said the school policy bans faculty from displaying messages on their face masks.
"Great Hearts enacted, in this unprecedented pandemic environment, a policy that face coverings have no external messages," Scoggin said in a statement to the network.
White is fighting back through a Change.org petition that has received nearly 3,500 signatures by Sunday (Sept. 27) night.
"If you're scared about what parents are going to say because a teacher is supporting equal rights, you need to reevaluate the kind of people you're catering to. By staying silent, Great Hearts is only supporting racist parents," she said.