(NEXSTAR) — A Tennessee middle school principal has apologized after announcing that “All Lives Matter” would be the school’s Black History Month theme, reported WRCB-TV.
Christy Caldwell Drake, principal at East Ridge Middle School in Chattanooga, issued an apology Monday, saying her inspiration for the theme came from a school mural stating, “Where Every Child Matters.”
“I want to apologize for not more fully considering the context of that theme,” Drake, who is Black, wrote to parents.
The controversial phrase “all lives matter” has come to be known by many as a way to minimize the Black Lives Matter movement.
“As a black woman in leadership, I embrace civil rights, Black History Month and the sacrifices that have been made by those who came before me,” Drake wrote. “I hope that my students, many of whom look like me, believe in the possibilities of their unlimited potential.”
Parents want more than an apology.
“We’ve got to change minds on this, and the principal, I had a conversation between she and I, and I told her that, basically, I just want her to look at it from a different perspective,” parent Jessica Arnold told WRCB.
Arnold, who has a sixth-grade daughter at the school, said she received a newsletter Sunday night highlighting the “All Lives Matter” theme, which has since been removed.
“Whoever thought that was a good idea really just has refused to think critically about this or willfully ignorant about it or just doesn’t want to educate themselves about it, and that disturbs me from the educators of my children,” Arnold told WRCB.
Arnold said the theme is “marginalizing a good bit of their student population,” which is predominantly Black and Hispanic — 34.9% and 36% respectively, according to the Tennessee Department of Education.
There was no immediate word on a new theme.