An Alabama teacher says school officials told her Monday to remove a shirt with the words “just pray” on it because the shirt violated the school dress code.
Chris Burrell, who works as a teacher in the Mobile County School District, told WALA she wore the shirt to support a local 11-year-old girl diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last year.
An organization called “Aubreigh’s Army” designed the shirt to raise money for the girl, Aubreigh Nicholas, who had been receiving treatment. The organization’s crowdfunding page for Aubreigh’s treatment raised $45,645 as of Saturday afternoon.
The school principal, allegedly unaware the shirt was to support a crowdfunding campaign, asked Burrell to go home and change her shirt to reflect the school’s dress code.
Mobile County School District Superintendent Martha Peek said Burrell’s shirt “violated” the dress code because it reflected “certain beliefs.”
“We have to be cognizant of everyone’s beliefs or everyone’s thoughts in a public school,” Peek told WALA.
Burrell wrote a Facebook post, which received approximately 800 shares before she deleted it, saying she did not intend to promote religion by wearing the shirt.
“I didn’t think twice about it. I wasn’t trying to promote religion; it was just my Monday feel-good shirt.” Burrell wrote.
The school district reportedly did not take further action against Burrell after asking her to change her shirt.
“We’re totally supporting her,” said Peek. “I think that this was just an unfortunate connection there, but still the principal would have had to exercise her judgment.”