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A 7-year-old was punished by her school for including the phrase “any life” on a Black Lives Matter drawing she made, and her mother is now looking to take legal action.
Chelsea Boyle said her white daughter was confused about why she got in trouble for a picture depicting her diverse group of friends at Viejo Elementary School in Orange County, California. The picture included the Black Lives Matter slogan, with the phrase “any life” underneath, along with figures of different colors to represent their various races.
“My children see color as a color, as a description. I am trying to raise them the way the world should be, not the way it is. That’s how I’m trying to make my personal change,” Boyle said on the “Just Listen to Yourself” podcast, pointing out that her daughter’s best friend is a person of color but not Black “and she didn’t understand why she didn’t matter, why her friend didn’t matter.”
“It wasn’t ‘all lives matter,’ it was ‘any life,’” Boyle continued. “It was something she came up on her own. She just didn’t understand it. It was completely innocent, and that broke my heart.”
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After one of her friends brought the picture home, a parent complained to the elementary school, and Boyle’s daughter was disciplined by having to sit out during recess and give a public apology on the playground.
Boyle said she was totally unaware of what happened to her daughter a year ago until another parent from the child’s class told her about it.
“I feel like I got hit by a bus, but I didn’t understand it,” Boyle said.
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After learning about the incident, Boyle spoke to her daughter about it. The girl told her that the principal told her she was not allowed to draw pictures anymore, an activity that she used as an outlet as she struggled with ADHD.
Boyle said she then sent a “super angry” email to the principal, followed by another “more well-thought-out” one in which she requested an apology to her and her daughter. Her attorney, Alexander Haberbush said the school brushed her off.
Now, Haberbush says they are looking to bring a lawsuit against the Capistrano Unified School District in the coming weeks, but first they are “trying to give the school every opportunity to settle this amicably.”
So far, however, he says they have “not heard a word from the school” since Boyle retained his services.
“Their silence is unacceptable,” Haberbush said in a statement to Fox News, saying that what the school did is “a flagrant violation of the First Amendment rights of a student placed in their care,” but also much more than that.
“As a child with ADHD, art is Ms. Boyle’s daughter’s main emotional outlet. The school has deprived her of that, and for what? For having the audacity to draw kids of all races getting along with the words ‘black lives matter,’ ‘any life’ matters,” he continued, saying that his firm “will do everything in its power to ensure that Ms. Boyle’s voice and her daughter’s voice are heard and that the school acknowledges its wrongdoing. ”
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The school district, meanwhile, told Fox News that “personnel have been working with the family to investigate and address their concerns,” but that the formal complaint process is still ongoing. A school district representative said the process “has been utilized,” but that it has yet to move up to the final appeal level, which is the board of trustees.
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