Student Forced To Remove BLM Mask During Graduation
What should have been a day of celebration and glory turned out to be one of confusion and disappointment for high school graduate Dean Holmes. He says he was forced to take off his Black Lives Matter face mask in order to graduate.
Holmes is a student at York Catholic High School in York, Pennsylvania and put on the BLM mask under his face shield during his July 28 graduation ceremony. He told CNN that as students lined up prior to the beginning of the ceremony, the school’s principal pulled him away in-front of other students and told him to remove his mask.
He complied only in fear of not being able to receive his diploma.
“I was so mad. I was shaking during the graduation, tapping my leg on edge… when it was over, I couldn’t believe it,” he told CNN.
John Holmes, Dean’s father, says every student was equipped with a face shield instead of a mask for the ceremony and that his son’s inability to wear something over his mouth stifled not only his freedom of speech, but jeopardized his health at the same time.
“The capricious action taken against my son demonstrates that York Catholic High School has miles to go before they can put the ugliness of unconscious bias and racism to sleep,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
“As a parent I will not stand for my son being humiliated publicly, having his basic human dignity crushed on what should have been one of the happiest days of his young life.”
York Catholic has since replied in a statement, claiming it’s standard “decorum” for students not to wear anything featuring a message and that any graduate would have been asked to remove such.
“We wish to re-emphasize that York Catholic believes in the dignity of all human persons, and the equal treatment of all people,” Arthur Full, chairman of the York Catholic School Board, said. “We encourage our students, faculty, and alumni to engage in personal conversation, continue to listen with open hearts, always strive for better understanding, and grow as a supportive community of love and respect.”
The family disputes this claim, saying students were not informed prior to the ceremony that masks with messages on them were not allowed at the ceremony. They also say that not only was Dean wearing the mask throughout the entire day, but so were both of his parents. He, however, was only told to take off the mask at the ceremony.
According to CNN, the school declined to comment any further.