Great Hearts Western Hills school has fired ten-year education professional Lillian White after she wore face masks that donned messages that support the Black Lives Matter movement. During in-person training and development sessions, White sported masks that had the phrase "Black Lives Matter" written across the side. While some of White's co-workers supported her, her employer did not. Shortly after wearing the "Black Lives Matter" masks to training sessions, she received a text message from a school administrator.
“We’d like you to stop wearing these masks anymore, parents will be coming around more and we don’t discuss the current political climate,” the school's assistant principal wrote.
White refused to stop wearing her masks. Instead, she continued to wear "Black Lives Matter" and "Silence Is Violence" masks.
“This is human rights and it should be something that is promoted at our school. 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,” White said.
Not long before she was set to begin her second year at the Texas charter school, White was fired by Great Hearts Western Hills. The school cited its policy prohibiting all external messages on face masks as the reason for her dismissal.
"Great Hearts enacted, in this unprecedented pandemic environment, a policy that face coverings have no external messages. This policy as authored by school leaders and teachers in service to the learning environment of our classrooms,” said the statement," the school stated.
Despite firing White for wearing a "Black Lives Matter" mask, Great Hearts Texas Superintendent Daniel Scoggin attempted to offer support for the movement in a recent memo.
“Great Hearts was founded and exists today to serve the innate dignity and worth of every human being. We stand with the Black community and all who are suffering. Great Hearts deplores bigotry and its crushing effects on all those subjected to it," Scoggin wrote.
Regardless of Scoggin's memo, White is left looking for a new job during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was really stressful because I have a financial obligation to help support my family,” White said.
“It’s also kind of heartbreaking that this is the kind of – this is the reason that I lost my job."
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