School Apologizes For Making Girl Remove Black Girls Rock Shirt

December 14, 2015  |  

Sharika Jolly was left perplexed one day when her daughter, Makiyah-Jae, returned from school wearing a shirt other than the one she left home in. Jolly tells WLOX that school administration forced little Makiyah-Jae to remove the shirt because they felt that it was inappropriate. The shirt reads: “Black Girls Rock” and was presented to the child by her mother during a time when she struggled with self-esteem.

“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.”

Jolly inquired with the principal about why her daughter was asked to remove the shirt and was told that while it didn’t violate Popps Ferry Elementary School policy, administration made a “judgment call” and decided to have Makiyah-Jae wear something else.

“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 expressed her concerns to the school district, and she received an apology from the principal shortly after.

“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, said that the entire situation was overblown by the principal, adding that since there is no school dress code, educators sometimes have to determine what’s appropriate and what is not.

“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.”

He continued:

“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.”

Makiyah-Jae is now allowed to wear her shirt freely.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

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