A Florida teacher out of class after hanging a high school Black Lives Matter sign


Now, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Hey, wait a minute: If your 12th grader puts a Black Lives Matter back in October, why is this a problem now?” Well, that’s a good question, and it’s where this situation gets more complex. In March 2021, community members were able to vote on whether to change the school’s name – which commemorates the Confederate General. Ultimately, the school board will vote and decide the issue during a meeting in June 2021.

How did Donofrio get involved? The teacher attended some of these public meetings (which took place in the school’s lecture hall), recorded them and posted the videos to Facebook. The clips that quickly spread on social media included white adults hurling some shocking words against blacks. The teacher said USA Today She was concerned about the well-being of students of color hearing some of the language and notes, so the school administration reported her concerns.

From there, as I mentioned Southern Poverty Law CenterOne of the people attending the public meeting complained to the school about the teacher, Black Lives Matter taught her. Then the school directed Donofrio again to take down the sign and had a written directive prohibiting teachers and staff from some kinds of speech. Why again? Because this isn’t the first time Donofrio has spoken of the sign; When she first hung it, in 2020, officials said it had violated district policy and asked her to remove it. When the teacher asked to clarify the policy that the sign had violated, she said, however, that the policies presented did not actually fit her circumstances, and continued to hang the sign.

Today, Donofrio is not fired; Instead, she currently works in a paid non-school role, which is why she reports to the school repository for seven hours per day, SPLC reports. She no longer has semester duties. What did Donofrio look like in the classroom? Suzette Hackney told me USA Today In an interview, she wanted students to be able to “go into my classroom and breathe” and embrace the place as a refuge.

The 34-year-old teacher told the enforcer that the school was less than 100 miles from where Trivon Martin was killed, and that in her class, she and the students had discussions about both Tryphon and George Floyd. “It was the first time any student in the class was allowed to talk about it in school,” Donofrio said. “In Jacksonville, the repression is intense and racism is very severe from the system level – in our school system, in our police system, in our justice system – and I know this is everywhere. But Jacksonville is a special place.”

And now? Donofrio, who is represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Associate Council, Scott Wagner & Company, Pennsylvania, is lawsuit The school to support its rights (and the rights of its students). Among these rights is the right to share their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. On the other hand, the school district argues that Donoferio speaks on behalf of the government as a public servant, suggesting that her speech (in this case in the form of a banner) could be seen as complicated. In her federal lawsuit, Donoferio argues that her rights to free speech are protected under the First Amendment and that specifically in Florida, the school district will need written consent to violate this.

You can check out an interview with Donofrio below.

You can also check out Donofrio’s TEDx Talk in 2017 about the importance of stickers people use when it comes to being young.

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