Students Allowed To Put Colin Kaepernick Poster Back Up After It Upset A School Official
The school says the poster will now stay up indefinitely.
March 01, 2019 at 7:59 pm
A Massachusetts school has decided a Colin Kaepernick poster meant to celebrate Black History Month can remain up after it reportedly upset a school official.
The News & Record reports the poster became an issue last week when William Gitau, a senior at Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School, was working on a Black History Month decoration of Colin Kaepernick with a friend. The poster features Colin Kaepernick taking a knee drawn in marker.
The students had completed their Kaep artwork and were busy working on cutouts of Black victims of police brutality to surround the quarterback when Worcester assistant principal Robert Kerr came down the hallway and objected to their poster, citing family members who are police officers.
Kerr reportedly suggested the students create an additional poster featuring a pro-police message. The assistant principal also allegedly said the Kaepernick poster was disrespectful to those in the police force. Gitau and Kerr then engaged in a heated conversation that ended with the image being taken down.
Naleigha Evans, a junior and vice president of the school's student council, told Telegram Kerr asked for the poster to be taken down and said he told the students they were no longer allowed to display it. School administrators, however, claim the students grew enraged at Kerr's proposal and took the poster down on their own.
Evans also said the poster had been approved weeks before its creation. Students staged a protest in response to the allegations both on Twitter and at school.
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“Abby Kelley, a school full of BLACK students refuses to allow us to recognize [Kaepernick] and all the people [affected] by police brutality because the admin have police in their family and they take offense to police brutality ….. RIDICULOUS," Evans tweeted.
Abby Kelley , a school full of BLACK students refuses to allow us to recognize Kapernick and all the people effected by police brutality because the admin have police in their family and they take offense to police brutality…..
— naleigha evans (@naleigha2) February 16, 2019
“To foster a community of Black youth while simultaneously trivializing their anger from being marginalized is WRONG," tweeted another student council member, Sathi Patel. "Stop excusing authority for abusing power. White & nonBlack students, use your privilege to force the administration to listen to the Black students being silenced.”
To foster a community of Black youth while simultaneously trivializing their anger from being marginalized is WRONG. Stop excusing authority for abusing power. White & nonBlack students, use your privilege to force the administration to listen to the Black students being silenced
— Sathi ???? (@sathixpatel) February 16, 2019
Abby Kelley is primarily made of African-American students according to the Telegram. The Department of Education reports the Black population makes up over 50 percent of the school's enrollment, with Latinx students at 23 percent and white students at 20 percent.
Following the controversy, the school's executive director, Brian Haas, conducted a discussion on the topic and allowed the poster to go back up on Tuesday.
"It was a good discussion. Administrators heard their voice," Haas said. "The goal was to increase everyone's level of understanding. I think that happened."
Haas also said the suggested pro-police poster would not be created or displayed and promised the students will be allowed to keep up their signs far past Black History Month.
"There is no end date for it," Haas said.
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