BUCKEYE, Ariz. - When Mariah Havard arrived at Buckeye High School for picture day Tuesday wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, the 10th grader says she was told to go to the school’s office, where she says administration leaders told her the shirt wasn’t allowed.
“I wasn't able to wear the shirt anymore because somebody made a complaint,” Havard said. “I was a little bit confused as to why I wouldn't be able to wear something so meaningful to me.”
Havard says the assistant principal cited the school's dress code policy, which bans clothing and accessories which can "disrupt the education process.”
Havard immediately called her mother.
“She was asked to change and she didn't question them -- she was being respectful,” Roxanne Havard, Mariah’s mother. “She went in the bathroom and was thinking about why she had to change.”
Havard's family and others believe the 15-year-old was treated unfairly, especially because they say the school has a history of allowing students to wear shirts supporting a cause, including some that could be considered offensive.
“I've seen gay pride shirts, I've seen confederate flags,” said student Genesis Santoyo, ‘I've actually seen a white power shirt once.”
Santoyo and Havard showed us social media pictures of students wearing T-shirts of the Confederate flag at school.
Wednesday, Genesis Santoyo wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to school in support of Havard and says she was also asked to change.
“I felt like I was being punished for who I am,” said Santoyo who is also African-American.
Santoyo says it was only after she claimed a double standard that the school announced Confederate flag clothing would also no longer be accepted on campus.
12 News did reach out to the Buckeye Union School District for a comment.
A representative at the district office told us the superintendent was aware of the situation but was unavailable at the moment.
As of Wednesday night’s 10 p.m. newscast, the district had yet to issue a response.