GEORGETOWN, Indiana — Parents are asking for an apology from a Southern Indiana school after they say their 13-year-old daughter was pulled from class Wednesday for the t-shirt she was wearing. The words on it read "Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could just be quiet?”
"She has four moms, she does have people in her life that are black, she has people in her life that are Hispanic, and she has people in her life that are trans," stepmother of the 13-year-old, Renee Williams said. "Of course she is a growing girl herself so she’s going to learn all about sexism.”
The 13-year-old is in 8th grade at Highland Hills Middle School in Georgetown. Some of her classmates walked out of class standing in solidarity with her on Thursday.
"These teachers need to go through more diversity training,” Williams said. “She never should've been singled out for that shirt.”
Williams said a teacher brought her to the principal's office, and she was given three options: take it off, cover it up, or wear it inside out. After she wore a sweater, her parents said she got too hot and another teacher gave her permission to take the sweater off because it did not violate the school dress code.
"The principal confronted her during the 8th-grade lunch in front of all of the 8th graders and told her that she cannot wear her sexuality on her shirt," Williams said. "Our daughter chose to come home with us."
According to the school district's dress code, "students' dress and appearance should be respectful and not interfere with the learning environment."
When WHAS11 reached out to the school, assistant to the superintendent at New Albany Floyd County Schools, Bill Briscoe said: “As a school district, we do all we can to maintain the integrity of a focused age-appropriate learning environment. This includes minimizing potential distractions as they arise.”
"If we're going to go off a dress code that pretty much depends on one person's opinion, then why have a dress code at all?" Williams said.
The 13-year-old's parents reached out to a school board member.
"[The board member] said that if we let [our daughter] wears her shirt to school, then what's to keep us from having white supremacists come in wearing swastikas on their shirts," Williams said.
Williams said she is proud of her daughter, but she said the 13-year-old deserves an apology from the school.
"The only teacher who made it disruptive was the teacher who pulled her into the office for it," Williams said.