Dearborn MI School Bans T-Shirts Deemed Offensive
DEARBORN, Mich. -- It appears the blogs and forums have been buzzing the last few days in response to a group of about nine high school students who got in trouble for wearing shirts that portrayed the number eleven with windows, resembling the world trade center's twin towers, along with the symbol of the school mascot, a Thunderbird which appears to look more like a plane, flying towards the towering numbers. Printed beneath the image are the words, "You can't bring us down."
Dearborn Public Schools spokesman David Mustonen told local press that the shirts the boys wore to Edsel Ford High School are "offensive" and in "poor taste."
In a letter from the principal of Edsel Ford High School to parents, part of what Principal Hassane Jaafar said is "The whole design gave prominence to the 9-11 tragedy. It made several staff members and students upset because of the perceived message. The students in question were processed in the main office and their hoodies were confiscated." The Principal's letter goes on claiming that the number 11 shows ten windows within each individual numeral. The theory being that the number of windows total 20 as purported by the boys, thereby symbolizing the students graduating year of 2011.
Clearly, if one looks closely at the window grouping, it appears that there are not ten windows on each numeral but only five on each, for a total of ten residing within the number eleven. Alternatively, if each black square is viewed separately as individual windows, then the total amount of windows is increased to a total of forty and not twenty as claimed. It should also be pointed out that the window groupings are representative of the actual school building's physical multiple-paned window groupings.
While browsing several blogs, one finds that there are but a small minority who find the shirt's design offensive and in poor taste and for the most part, it seems the majority blogging and commenting are describing the design as being patriotic and inspirational, saying they support the boys choice of design as a portrayal of school pride because they belong to the class of 2011 and further, that it is a free-speech issue and the boys should be able to wear the shirts if they want to. The boys are Arab-American, as are about half the school's 1,700 students.
School official are now deciding if further action should be taken. The boys are expected to meet with school officials but say suspensions are not planned.