A black Detroit teacher has lost her job for trying to help her eight grade students organize a ‘Wear your hoodie to school’ fundraiser.
According to SandraRose.com “Brooke Harris was dismissed in March from Pontiac Academy for Excellence after she supported students’ efforts to plan a wear-a-hoodie-to-school day. Martin was wearing a hoodie on Feb. 26 when he was shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., and other groups have called for Harris to be reinstated.
“I’m really confused why I got fired,” Harris told The Associated Press. “I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
According to the SPLC, Harris’s eight grade students asked her about Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Miami student who was gunned down by George Zimmerman, in cold blood.
Harris said she gave the students a writing assignment to share their thoughts about the tragedy. But the students wanted to raise money for Trayvon’s family.
Harris said her students asked the school’s administrators if they could each pay $1 to wear their hoodies to school instead of school uniforms. She said the school’s administration often allowed students to “dress down” for a day.
Harris said she was called into a meeting and suspended for suggesting the fundraiser to the school’s administration.
She said she was fired when she showed up at the school to give her students prizes after she was told to stay away from the campus.
“I didn’t tell the kids, ‘Let’s go and do it anyway.’” Harris said. “I was actually, literally, in the process of talking to my kids about what we could do instead…”
School superintendent Jacqueline Cassell, who fired Harris, said that the students should be learning in school rather than discussing “activism”.
“I’m a child of the civil rights movement,” Cassell said. But “this is not the time in the school year” to distract students from academics.
“In every situation, there are work rules,” she said. “When rules are violated, there are consequences.”
A rally for Martin and Harris is being held Tuesday at the King Solomon Missionary Baptist church in Detroit.
Harris says she just wants to know why she was fired.
“I just want a reason,” Harris said. “She’s got my phone number, and I’d appreciate if she’d tell me what I did wrong.”