Students at Buckeye High School in Arizona staged a walkout Monday to protest discrimination after the school forced a girl to remove her Black Lives Matter T-shirt.
Mariah Havard, a 10th-grade student, said on Facebook that school officials told her to remove her Black Lives Matter shirt on Aug. 23 because it was "creating a disruption in the learning of education."
In her Facebook post — shared by more than 1,000 people —Havard said that the vice principal handed her a plain white shirt to change into after telling her that she wasn't allowed to wear her BLM shirt because she had previously argued with a "young caucasian boy who said 'black lives don't matter' and 'that shirt is meaningless.'"
Genesis Santoyo, another student who wore a BLM T-shirt to support Havard, told 12 News that she was also asked to change. "I felt like I was being punished for who I am,” Santoyo said.
In a statement responding to the incident, the Buckeye Union High School District said, "The district strives to remain politically neutral while still allowing student expression. However, when these expressions interfere with the learning process and become a potential danger to students, they have to be addressed."
About 10 students were involved, and they were joined by some of their parents, a diversity consultant, and a pastor, who said there was "systemic racism" at the school.
The student who wore the Black Lives Matter t-shirt is Mariah Havard. A previous version of the story misspelled her last name.