Black Lives Matter T-shirt at Jensen Beach High School sparks school district investigation

Treasure Coast Newspapers | Jon Santucci and Sommer Brugal | August 3, 2020

MARTIN COUNTY — School district officials are investigating whether a Black Lives Matter T-shirt that included Jensen Beach High School’s athletic logo violated district protocol. 

The district is investigating use of the Falcon logo, not the shirt’s message, said district spokesperson Jennifer DeShazo.

“The district’s concern is that the shirts were branded with the school’s logo,” DeShazo said Monday. The district received comments from community members expressing concern, she said, and officials are looking into how the shirt came about.

Jensen Beach High School football coach Tim Caffey, who is African American, posted a photo of the shirt on his Twitter account on June 29.

Caffey declined to comment Monday.

The white shirt has the words “Black Lives Matter” in black and teal with the Falcons logo and the word “Family” in black letters underneath.

Nothing in the district student code of conduct prevents a student from wearing a a slogan such as “Black Lives Matter,” DeShazo said. The district encourages students’ freedom of expression, she said, but it does not take stances on social or political statements. 

Former Jensen Beach defensive coordinator Chris Kokell also posted a photo to social media showing a group of Falcons players and coaches wearing the shirt.

The same day Caffey posted the shirt to Twitter, he wrote: “Born in Birmingham Alabama in 1967. Seen and experienced racism first hand. I can say this with confidence The Falcon Football Family will be a Family regardless of Race. We will lead by example. One Heart. One Family, One Mission, United as One.

Caffey, who is heading into his ninth season as the team’s head coach, was named TCPalm’s All-Area Coach of the Year in 2019 when he led the Falcons to the first district title in program history.

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