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Should This Student Have Been Removed From School Because Of This Do Rag? (Live Broadcast)

Should This Student Have Been Removed From School Because Of This Do Rag? (Live Broadcast)

by October 20, 2019 0 comments

Is This Black Culture?
By: Tommy “Tj” Sotomayor

Mother rejects school apology for do-rag comment, wants ban lifted

Una Momolu wants school to lift one-year ban imposed on her after argument with principal

Una Momolu and her son Emmell spoke to the media at a rally in front of the offices of Edmonton Catholic Schools on Thursday. (Sam Martin/CBC )

An Edmonton mother is rejecting an apology from the Catholic school board for connecting the do-rag worn by her 11-year-old son with possible gang affiliation. 

In a written statement sent Thursday afternoon, Edmonton Catholic Schools addressed the incident at Christ the King School on Sept. 12. 

“We want to start by recognizing and apologizing for the use of the word ‘gang’ with regards to the situation,” the statement read. “It was never our intent to suggest that the boy had any affiliation with a gang.” 

The apology didn’t go far enough for Una Momolu, who appeared at a rally Thursday evening in support of her son Emmell. The boy was told to remove his do-rag by staff at the school in northeast Edmonton. 

“They partially apologized,” Momolu told the media in front of the district office in downtown Edmonton as about 60 supporters looked on. 

“That really wasn’t an apology if you’re apologizing and still standing with the school after everything they have done.”

An Edmonton Catholic Schools spokesperson said the Grade 6 student was told to remove the head covering because he was violating a school policy that prohibits hats, caps or bandanas. A retired police officer who serves as the school’s team advisor made the connection between the do-rag and gang involvement. 

Momolu says the do-rag is a symbol of black culture. 

She wants the school to lift the one-year ban imposed on her after a heated meeting with the principal. Momolu also wants the school to allow do-rags in schools as the ban targets students of colour. 

“I want rules changed. I want our cultural identity to be recognized,” she said. “I want an apology and I want the ban lifted so my son can return back to school.”

The district isn’t relenting on the ban. Officials claim Momolu was “aggressive” and frightened staff in a meeting at the school. They deny race had any role to play in their decision to call police. 

In the statement, the school district says the ten-minute audio recording of the encounter released to the public was cut off before the situation escalated. 

Momolu is challenging the district to prove its claims by releasing surveillance video from the school.

Momolu has kept Emmell out of school since she was banned from the premises. The district says Emmell can still attend school.

But Momolu says she drives him to school and refuses to drop him off a block away to comply with the conditions of her ban.