Student Suspended For ‘Hate Incident’ After Smearing Eye Black On His Face For Football Game

A California middle school suspended a student in October for wearing “eye black” face paint at a football game, according to CalCoastNews.

Muirlands Middle School Principal Jeff Luna banned the student from attending sporting events for the rest of the year as punishment for the alleged “hate incident,” according to CalCoastNews. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) sent the school a letter Thursday demanding that the suspension and ban be reversed, alleging that it constituted a First Amendment violation.

“There is no evidence J.A.’s face paint caused a disruption—let alone a material and substantial one—at the football game or at school afterward. The complete lack of disruption is unsurprising, as the sight of fans in face paint is familiar to and expected by anyone who has ever attended a football game or other sporting event,” reads the letter from FIRE, referring to the student by his initials.

A photo of the boy shows him wearing face paint similar to what football players wear to avoid glare from the sun, the father, who asked not to be named, told CalCoastNews. The student wore the black face paint at a game between La Jolla High School and Morse High School.

“He had a fun, great night without any trouble,” the student’s father told CalCoastNews.

After the game, the father was called to the principal’s office and Luna said the paint was blackface because Morse High School is a largely black school, the father told CalCoastNews.

Luna issued the student a suspension for allegedly violating the school’s hate incidents policy. A suspension notice provided to CalCoastNews says the boy is being disciplined because he “painted his face black at a football game.”

Luna did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Brandon Poulter on November 9, 2023

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