In Nashville, Tennessee, a second-grade teacher at McGavock Elementary School allegedly forced a student to change their shirt. The shirt in question worn by the student featured AKA sorority lettering and a pink and green color scheme. The alleged incident has led the school principal to apologize to the student and her family.
Tennessee elementary school principal apologizes after a teacher took an Alpha Kappa Alpha T-shirt from a white student who liked the colors. The teacher, a member of the Black sorority, emailed the mom, saying AKA gear is “reserved for members only.” https://t.co/y9DIREqysU
— Charles T (@ChuckyT3) October 7, 2023
The student’s mother, Chloe Smith, said a family friend passed the shirt down to Tiger and that her daughter “liked” the shirt because of its colors and because it “matched her pants” she chose to wear to school that day. Both Smith and Tiger are white, according to local news.
The teacher allegedly was upset by the student wearing the gifted shirt and emailed Smith, informing her why she took the shirt away and gave Tiger an alternative shirt.
“Today, I noticed Peyton wearing an AKA shirt. I am a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), which is a service organization for college-trained and educated women,” the teacher wrote. “AKA branded items are trademarked and reserved for members only. Thus, I had to give her a new shirt and take the AKA shirt. The new shirt she received is clean, and there is no need to give it back.”
After catching wind of the incident, the school district issued a statement. The public statement explained the McGavock Elementary principal will investigate the matter and return the shirt to the student’s family.
“While the shirt was not in accordance with the school’s dress code due to having writing, the appropriate course of action would have been to refer the matter to the school administration and not take the shirt from the student,” the statement reads. “There is no policy or dress code specific to sorority-branded clothing.”
The story has reached social media and many D9 members are upset with the exchange, calling the individual who gifted Peyton the shirt “to blame,” while others feel the teacher could have handled the situation with a child very differently.
“However, I can only be frustrated with my fellow D9 members in this situation and those similar. We have an extremely strict protocol of destroying paraphernalia if it is no longer of use,” one user wrote, according to AtlantaBlackStar. “There is no ‘hand-me-down’ unless the receiver is a fellow member. So, the little girl or her mom are not to blame; it’s the member of the org who disposed of it carelessly.”