A video of an emotional Florida teacher reluctantly taking down her Black History Month decoration of Colin Kaepernick has gone viral and caused quite a stir online.
Port Charlotte High School junior Jaidyn Etheart posted a short clip of her math teacher, Alissa Perry, to Twitter on Wednesday. Etheart explained to her followers that Perry was being forced to take down the poster because some deemed it "offensive."
Earlier this month, Blavity included the artwork in a roundup of some of the best Black History Month door decorations to hit the web.
"[O]nce again, racism being justified," Etheart wrote atop her video. "[O]ne of the teachers at our school put up a Colin Kaepernick door [piece] FOR black history month, and the school claimed it was 'offensive' and she was forced to take it down."
once again, racism being justified . one of the teachers at our school put up a Colin Kaepernick door peice FOR black history month, and the school claimed it was “offensive” and she was forced to take it down. pic.twitter.com/nX7XhpV0wE— Jaidyn Etheart (@jaidyn_e) February 27, 2019
In the video, Perry is visibly upset, thanking her students for their support before taking down a paper door decoration of Colin Kaepernick for Black History Month. Kaepernick is iconically decorated in his former San Francisco 49ers attire in which he protested in support of Black Lives Matter in a kneeling position. His afro is accented with black paper ruffles and a large, white pick.
“She wanted to apologize,” Jaidyn Etheart told her local news outlet WINK News. “And, she thanked us for being a part of it and celebrating it with her.”
Just days prior, complaints had reportedly begun rolling in from students and parents. Perry had just finished her door decoration on Tuesday when she was asked to remove it Wednesday morning.
“I believe these boys from our school saw it, took a picture of it and put it on Snapchat, and said it was offensive,” Etheart told WINK.
Another student claims that it was another teacher who was the cause, Yahoo reports.
"[T]hey ACTUALLY took it down bc a teacher complained and they validated the white teacher’s concerns over the Black teacher’s efforts but that’s what they won’t tell you, [sic]" tweeted a student from the handle @melissaaleonn.
they ACTUALLY took it down bc a teacher complained and they validated the white teacher’s concerns over the black teacher’s efforts but that’s what they won’t tell you https://t.co/6nugOUDEVk— mel (@melissaaleonn) February 28, 2019
Still, Charlotte County School District Spokesperson Mike Riley told reporters they were being flooded with phone calls, and the only resolution was to remove the decoration altogether.
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“We were getting parents complaining and everybody, and we just thought we have to put an end to this,” said Riley. “It was a lose-lose situation for us.”
“Our schools are a microcosm of our society,” Riley continued. “If we left it up, it would have been the same thing from one side, and if we took it down, it would be another.”
The door decoration would have only stayed up for at least one more day, given the end to Black History Month is February 28.
Some Port Charlotte citizens claimed they found the decoration offensive, stating that respect for the flag and the country should be a priority above political stances. Others said that it should not have been taken down, particularly in light of Black History Month.
Many people online have echoed the latter position, including Perry's sons who tweeted their thoughts on the topic. "[T]he only thing 'offensive' about this is making my mom take this down," tweeted one, "and unfortunately our principal has no say in this."
"[D]o better Charlotte county."
Usually don’t get into stuff like this, but do y’all actually know why he does this ?..the only thing “offensive” about this is making my mom take this down😂and unfortunately our principal has no say in this...do better Charlotte county 😴😴 https://t.co/YckmTpYMiu— 1️⃣0️⃣🍴🏈😈-TP😎 (@Tk_2Turnt) February 27, 2019
my mom made door art for black history month and it was of Colin Kaepernick kneeling or whatever and now the district making her take it down🤦🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/eFZlrohy10— brandon🦂 (@brandonnperry) February 27, 2019
One of Perry's unidentified sons later told WINK News that their mother was disheartened that she had to take down her decoration, but she hopes her students understand why she did it.
For students such as Etheart, they believe that the school district made the wrong decision.
“I don’t think that a few people’s opinion should be able to take away something that meant a lot to a lot of people," said the student.
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