CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) – A student celebrating her heritage with her classmates on “Haitian Flag Day” was suspended after she tweeted about a school administrator confiscating their Haitian flags at J.P Taravella High School.
The student’s Tweet was sent during the celebration, but it turned some heads at her Coral Springs high school. The tweet read, “@jptprincipal: while we are proudly taking a picture representing Haiti, she comes and snatches our property.”
@jptprincipal while we are proudly taking a picture representing Haiti, she comes and snatches our property pic.twitter.com/YiFtV2PJbE
— brightskin goddess. (@dxnitrv) May 18, 2016
That student told 7News that her flag was confiscated. “She came out of nowhere and snatched our flags,” said the student, who just wants to use her first name, Danitra. “She came into our personal space and snatched all our flags.”
The school’s principal later apologized, tweeting, “As you well know, we strive to support ALL of our STUDENTS & THEIR heritages. I feel bad that this happened. Sorry!”
As you well know, we strive to support ALL of our STUDENTS & THEIR heritages. I feel bad that this happened. Sorry! https://t.co/NAZwH6h7tg
— Principal Cerra (@jptprincipal) May 18, 2016
By the time the principal responded, Danitra’s tweet had been retweeted almost a thousand times. “She told me I was ruining her reputation by posting it on Twitter,” Danitra said.
The student said when she went to speak with the administrator Thursday morning, and she was placed under in-house suspension, which made her miss a test. “I guess she just felt like cause I said, ‘No,’ I was being defiant, and I didn’t take down the post,” she said.
Many of Danitra’s fellow classmates support her and said that if she wants to fly a flag on Haitian Flag Day, she should be allowed to do so. “It’s their independence day,” said student Ori Nachum. “If someone came up to me and took my American flag on the Fourth of July, I’d be extremely angry.”
According to the Broward County school board, the flags were taken away due to a dress code issue.
A Broward County Public Schools spokesperson released the following statement:
“Broward County Public Schools takes pride in a culturally rich and diverse student population, representing 208 different countries and speaking 181 different languages. Students are absolutely allowed and encouraged to celebrate their heritage. However, in doing so, students are not allowed to disrupt the school day or violate the Code of Student Conduct. School administrators indicate they did not in any way violate or infringe upon the rights of students during Haitian Flag Day. Students were only addressed if they were in violation of the policy specifically regarding bandannas and hats (see below). At no time were students asked not to show their pride.”
The statement then addressed what the dress code entails: “Rule #8 Head coverings including, but not limited to, caps and hats are not allowed unless they are necessary for safety in programs such as home economics, technology education, vocational education, and athletics or are worn for religious or medical reasons.”
Danitra, who is on her way to the University of Central Florida in the fall, is angry about the situation and believes the administrator was wrong. “I don’t forgive her because it was still rude, and I just feel disrespected in the biggest way,” she said.
Students told 7News that they plan to bring flags on Friday to protest.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
WSVN-TVSunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141
Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777