A San Antonio teacher was fired after she refused to stop wearing face masks reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence” to school.
Lillian White wore the homemade masks for about a week and a half as she planned for the upcoming school year with her colleagues at the Great Hearts Western Hills charter school. Some even asked her if she had any extras. Then, an assistant principal told her to stop wearing them because “we don’t discuss the current political climate.” White refused, and the school fired her about a week before the first day of school.
“This is human rights and it should be something that is promoted at our school,” White told WBNS. “It’s an excuse to not talk about it by saying ‘This is politics, talk about it on your own time.’ It’s just an excuse because they’re uncomfortable with the conversation.”
In a statement, the charter network that operates the school said it has “a policy that face coverings have no external messages.” But it beggars belief to suggest that the specific message of White’s mask didn’t affect the school’s decision. Would White would have lost her job for having a mask that said “Be nice to each other” on it? Almost certainly not. And isn’t the main purpose of school to give messages to kids to help this understand the world they live in?
The assistant principal who initially said the school wanted to avoid politics gave the game away. The school’s stated commitment “to an America where racism, violence, and injustice do not happen” rings hollow when it refuses to discuss those inherently political topics with the kids who, assuming democracy survives that long, will eventually decide what kind of country America is.