An art teacher who refused to stop wearing her homemade face mask with Black Lives Matter slogans was fired by her charter school on San Antonio’s north side.
Great Hearts Western Hills fired Lillian White a week before students were set to return to classes. Great Hearts operate numerous charter schools in Texas and Arizona.
“It was really stressful because I have a financial obligation to help support my family,” White said to KENS-TV. “It’s also kind of heartbreaking that this is the kind of – this is the reason that I lost my job.”
White claimed that she wore the homemade masks for more than a week in July without any trouble. The masks read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence.”
“For about a week and a half I was wearing these masks and no one said anything. A couple of the other teachers came up and asked for some if I had any extras and I made them some,” she explained.
White says she received a text message from the assistant principal telling her to stop wearing the mask because they didn’t want to discuss the political climate around the parents.
“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,” White said. “It’s just an excuse because they’re uncomfortable with the conversation.”
White said that despite being fired, and because of it, she is still advocating for a “anti-racism action plan” at the school.
‘We stand with the Black community’
The school released a statement about the incident but offered few additional details.
“Great Hearts respects the privacy of all current and former employees and as a result does not issue public comment on specific personnel matters. On the question related to face coverings, Great Hearts enacted, in this unprecedented pandemic environment, a policy that face coverings have no external messages. This policy was authored by school leaders and teachers in service to the learning environment of our classrooms,” the statement read.
“We stand with the Black community and all who are suffering,” the statement continued, in part. “Great Hearts deplores bigotry and its crushing effects on all those subjected to it. Great Hearts is committed to an America where racism, violence, and injustice do not happen, because such acts find no home in the hearts of a great people.”