A school board in Montgomery County deemed the “Pray for Peace” shirts that the student-athletes were wearing in support of Ukraine, too “political” and “religious.”
Blacksburg High School Lacrosse Captain Elise Levison and her mother Clare Levison are fighting back against the school boards ruling. In an interview with Fox and Friends, the explain:
“The team was pretty upset,” Elise told co-host Carley Shimkus. “All we were trying to do is just spread a positive message that was really our only intention, and we’ve actually gotten a lot of support from the school. I’ve had teachers stop me in the hallway and say what we’re doing is the right thing and that they support us, so the community feedback has been really great.”
So far, their attempts to compromise with the school board have failed. They attempted to change he slogan on the shirt to read “Play for Peace” but that slogan was also rejected. The school board chair, Sue Kass, and Interim Superintendent Whitaker released a joint statement on the matter, saying:
“The concerns about the warmups are not related to student speech as the team members did not initiate the discussion or purchase the shirts,” the statement reads. “The role of the School Board is to implement our policies in an unbiased way. Staff-led activism is a topic our Board has been discussing throughout the year, including flags, posters, and clothing that show support for specific groups or issues. It is not permissible for school-issued, staff-sponsored apparel to promote specific causes, groups, or beliefs.”
According to Elise, her lacrosse team wanted to support their coach, who volunteered at orphanages in Ukraine, as Putin’s assault continues to send millions fleeing from their homes in fear for their lives.
“I just can’t believe that the interim superintendent actually said that peace is political because peace comes from war and war is about people with different views,” Clare said, adding it “defies all logic.”