Daycares are supposed to be safe spaces for kids to learn and express themselves. But 6-year-old Journei Brockman is devastated that her school won’t allow her to return simply because she wore a shirt that said “Black Lives Matter.”
It’s more crucial now than ever that kids learn about racial injustice, so, when Deval Brockman sent Journei to daycare wearing a t-shirt that read “Black Lives Matter” last Thursday, she probably didn’t expect the school to have a problem with her daughter’s clothing. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened.
On Thursday, Brockman received a call from her daughter’s teacher at His Kids Preschool in Russellville, Arkansas. Brockman says that the teacher told her, “‘I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it and I would prefer it if you didn’t send her to school in it again,” according to KNWA Fox24.
Brockman says she took action and reported the conversation to the state government. She was told that Journei could continue wearing the shirt as long as it didn’t have any profanity on it.
The following day, Brockman sent her daughter to school wearing a t-shirt with a raised fist printed on it. But when Brockman went to pick Journei up, she was told that the recent shirts were encouraging racism and that her daughter could no longer attend His Kids Preschool.
Brockman explained that her daughter was confused: “She asked me Friday, ‘Can I go back?’ No, you can never go back.”
The school went so far as to question Brockman’s parenting choices. She said a director at the school told her, “I am not going to tell you how to raise your child but you need to reevaluate how you’re parenting her.” She was upset, “I’m just like are you serious? Over a t-shirt?”
The daycare has since released a statement, which reads, “We feel a childcare environment is not a place for a parent’s political views to be addressed or played out, regardless of race.”
But Brockman says “It’s not political, it’s everyday life, It’s all over the news. Right is right and wrong is wrong.”
Since the news of Journei’s dismissal from school broke, dozens of people took to the website ChildcareCenter.us to give the school a one-star rating (the lowest possible) and wrote comments condemning the school’s behavior.
“If I’m supporting something, I’m going to wear it, my child is going to wear it, to help say that our voice needs to be heard,” Brockman said.
Finding daycare is hard enough as it is thanks to the economic pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and now, sadly, Brockman has to begin the search all over again.