This exact story was sent out through ShoutOut! JMU as a quick hit, but I feel like it deserves a bit more attention.
Let’s go back to our middle school days. These days school was long, acne was emerging, and bullies were at their peak. However, middle school is around the time that we tend to find out what kind of people we want to be,-not necessarily are-but want to be. Now imagine finding that you are a feminist and that your school is trying to oppress that. The people who are supposed to be “stopping” the bullies are now becoming them. This is unfortunately true for a middle-school student named Sophie at Clermont Northeastern Middle School in Ohio. Sophie wore a shirt with the word feminist painted across her chest to class picture day. When getting these pictures back it was made known that the school’s administration chose to black out the word “feminist” for the picture. WTF?
Principal Kendra Young chose to black out the word from student Sophie’s shirt after being alerted to it by the school’s photographer. “Some people might find it offensive,” was the exact quote from Young.
Offensive? How is being a feminist offensive? The world may never know…
When this began to escalate in media attention, the school told members of the press that the subject had been cleared with Sophie’s mother and they were granted permission to black out the word. Sophie’s mother cleared that up pretty quickly by saying that never happened. So, the school lied to cover their tracks of being anti-feminist? Sound legit.
Sophie, being the technologically savvy middle schooler she is took to twitter and instagram with a photo of herself wearing the feminist shirt and rallying other people to support her. She posted:
“Hello everybody! I understand that this picture isn’t great, but there is an issue at hand. I wore a shirt with the word “feminist” on it. Our school took a picture of our grade to hang up in the school. Today, I found out they blacked out my shirt. I went to our principal and she claimed it was “offensive” and she “didn’t want it in the photo” Everyone participating in my protest will be wearing a shirt with a phrase like “I deserve freedom of expression” or “feminism isn’t offensive” or anything that you believe fits! Please make a shirt and join us and help take care of this issue.”
After enough local-media scrutiny, Ms. Young reached out to Sophie’s mother with an apology. She apologized for blacking out the word without permission then promptly tried to sweep this issue under the rug. She then personally apologized to Sophie herself, asking, “What do you want from this?”
Sophie, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite people in the world replied with: “I want everyone to realize that we need feminism … I want you to have someone come into the school and educate everyone about feminism. I want us to go to the news station together and show the people that we are working together to make this school and our community a better place for everyone. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
No Sophie, that definitely is NOT too much to ask. I think all of us feminists out here support you!