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Elementary School Forces Student to Remove Her ‘Black Girls Rock’ Shirt

The shirt helped her with self-acceptance.

In early December, Makiyah-Jae, an 8-year-old student at Popps Ferry Elementary School in Biloxi, Mississippi, was forced by the principal to change her t-shirt, which bore the words “Black Girls Rock!” Her mother, Sharika Jolly, was deeply upset by the decision because she had bought her the shirt in order help her embrace her Afrocentric features. There was a time when Makiya-Jae wanted to straighten her hair and dye it blond. “Black Girls Rock” is an empowering message put forward by an organization of the same name, whose mission is to “change the world by empowering black girls to lead, innovate, and serve.”

When Jolly called the school to see if her daughter’s clothing had violated any of the school’s policies, she was told by the principal that he used his own discretion. “He said they made a judgment call, then I proceeded to ask, ‘Well, who are the judges judging my 8-year-old?’” Jolly said. “And he said ‘Well, I’m the principal so I made the call.’”

Two days later, the school superintendent called to apologize to Jolly. “We probably overreached in this situation, but we make many decisions every day,” said Arthur McMillan. “If he [the principal] 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.” Jolly has accepted the apology but is wary that other students may have faced discrimination and remained silent.

WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL -

(H/T Huffington Post)

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