Communications & Public Affairs
May 12, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Jason Lowe
(405) 557-7367 [email protected]

Black Caucus Members Respond to Ardmore Public School Incident

OKLAHOMA CITY — Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements in response to an incident involving two Ardmore public school students being removed from class for wearing shirts saying “Black Lives Matter.”

Black Caucus Chair Rep. Jason Lowe, D-OKC:

“I am disappointed by the decision of Ardmore Public Schools to punish students and interrupt their learning for wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts, as this is a clear violation of the First Amendment. With this action along with the recent passage of House Bill 1775, we are failing to give our young people the opportunity to have necessary conversations about race and diversity that will help combat racism and prejudice. I stand in support of the young boys and their mother and with all those fighting for a more equitable society.”

Sen. George Young, D-OKC:

“The term ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not limited to an organization; it is a legitimate concern expressed by people who are fearful for their very existence. It is a statement of affirmation, concern, and hope.”

Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa:

“Ardmore Public Schools’ leadership should be more concerned about freedom of speech and less engaged in punishing and trying to diminish the humanity of young black people in America, who tastefully and appropriately affirm that Black Lives Matter, also.”

Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC:

“Our children learn from teachers inside the classroom and out. As a product of Ardmore’s public education system, I love Ardmore. But what we are seeing is not only a violation of First Amendment rights of children, but also how educators uphold the school-to-prison pipeline by singling out students of color, particularly Black students, for things that are not a violation of school policy, but will make school administration continue to watch this family beyond this point. This makes me think of House Bill 1775, when we don’t explicitly talk about our past and how it frames our world today, we create space for our troubled past to repeat itself. I hope Mr. Holland will someday understand just because the fact that Black Lives Matter might be uncomfortable for him, does not make that fact political.”

-END-

Rep. Jason Lowe
Sen. George Young
Rep. Regina Goodwin
Rep. Mauree Turner