When Sophie Thomas saw her eighth grade class' picture, she could not believe what she was looking at.
"I checked it to make sure I didn't look dumb or anything -- closing my eyes,I saw that they I saw that they had removed the word from my shirt, and I was insanely upset."
The word the school removed was "feminist."
Principal Kendra Young, who later apologized to Thomas, told the news channels that although the shirt did not violate the school's dress code, she was worried some might find it "offensive”. Therefore, she decided to remove the word.
Superintendent Ralph Shell said the school also changed another part of the photo, because there were "some young men in the background that were doing not appropriate things with their hands. So the principal made the decision to airbrush the word feminism and the hands out," he said.
Personally I find this laughable. Just because other parts of the photograph were altered does not justify completely ignoring freedom of expression.
Thomas and her friends publicized the incident on Twitter using the hashtags #KeepFeminismInSchools and #IDeserveFreedomOfExpression.
Thomas' mother, Christine, told the site Women Should Know that the principal called her and apologized after getting media inquiries. She then met with Thomas, who said she wanted to start a broader discussion about feminism.
"I was so proud of her, she never once said I want a public apology or anything like that. She just wants to give to others. She is such a great kid."
Thomas had worn the shirt to school before picture day. She chose to wear it on this occasion because she had recently had a conversation with a high school student who she said had made some sexist remarks.
Cultures today still perceive feminism to be a bad word. It’s not. It is simply another expression of equality between the sexes. Surely that's something that we should have by now?
Nina is in her Honours year at The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow studying History. She loves keeping fit and healthy at the gym and singing to her hearts content. Because of Nina's love of all things history related, she has a passion for reading, writing and researching. Nina is the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine for female students at Strathclyde called Her Campus Strath and wants to continue her passion for writing after graduation.