A Tennessee principal is apologizing for her failure to read the room. According to CNN, Principal Christy Caldwell Drake issued an apology to the members of East Ridge Middle School for making their Black History Month theme “All Lives Matter.”
In a letter sent to families on Monday (Feb. 1), Drake explained that she drew inspiration from a mural in the school that reads, “Where Every Child Matters,” but admitted that she failed to consider the negative connotations often associated with her chosen theme.
“I want to apologize for not more fully considering the context of that theme,” she wrote.
“As a Black woman in leadership, I embrace civil rights, Black History Month and the sacrifices that have been made by those who came before me. I hope that my students, many of whom look like me, believe in the possibilities of their unlimited potential.”
The “All Lives Matter” Black History Month theme has since been removed.
“All lives matter” — which has been used as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement — is a phrase that Black people find offensive as it derails conversations and dismisses concerns about systematic racism.
Jessica Arnold, whose daughter attends East Ridge Middle School, took issue with the theme and expressed her thoughts to Drake.
“Whoever thought that was a good idea really just has refused to think critically about this or (is) willfully ignorant about it or just doesn’t want to educate themselves about it, and that disturbs me from the educators of my children,” she said, adding her beliefs that the “All Lives Matter” theme would have discriminated against a large portion of the student population.
According to Hamilton County Schools spokesman Cody Patterson, the school district has not come up with an alternative Black History Month theme, but he insists the East Ridge Middle School community will be “recognizing and celebrating the sacrifices made by so many Black Americans.”