Saturday, January 17, 2015

Uniontown considers discipline for "I can't breathe" shirts

From the Trib:
Uniontown Area School District officials are examining how to respond to members of the girls high school basketball team who wore controversial T-shirts onto the court before a game this week, according to school directors. 
The girls wore shirts during warmups that read, "I can't breathe," along with about 15 people in the stands. The phrase is the last words of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in New York over the summer after being placed in a banned chokehold by police during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes. A grand jury decided not to indict Garner's killer, Daniel Pantaleo, last month and he is still employed by the NYPD, sparking numerous protests across the country.
“I just don't think that was the time and place for such a political stunt,” Director Susan Clay said Thursday.  
No, it probably wasn't and the girls were out of uniform, but the girls have every right to express themselves, which is why I support more recent news reporters indicating officials decided against taking disciplinary action. I was once a teenager with strong opinions, and I remember how frustrating it was to feel dismissed to to my age. These girls found a platform, and they used it. Good for them, I say.

Also, this:
“I believe in freedom of speech. That's all this is,” [spectator Harlan Davis] said of the girls' decision to wear the shirts. “It's not only about the girls. The reason is bigger than them.”
Tina Tucker, who was wearing the shirt, said the purpose was not to show disrespect for anyone, including police officers, but to pay homage to the memory of Garner.  
“It's to pay homage to a man, his family and what's going on in the world,” Tucker said. “It's a whole movement.” 
I do love the Trib's take on Garner's arrest, though:
The words were the last spoken by Eric Garner, 43, an unarmed black man who was resisting arrest and put in a neckhold by police.
A...neckhold? What a nice way to describe a man being choked to death by a cop after repeatedly saying he couldn't breathe--accounts say 11 times before he went limp and died--and didn't receive medical attention for another seven minutes afterward.

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