Dozens of Milwaukee teachers take a stand

They wear "Black Lives Matter" shirts on Thursdays
Posted at 10:20 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 23:21:14-04
MILWAUKEE -- Dozens of teachers at Rufus King High School are taking a stand by wearing Black Lives Matter Milwaukee shirts to school.  
"What a better show of support for students for them to come to school and have a large group of their teachers wearing shirts that say black lives matter so they know when they come to this place everyday there are people supporting them," said Ali Fagnan, English teacher. 
Ali Fagnan came up with the idea of wearing the shirts.  
"I was nervous to ask an entire school, hey who wants to support Black Lives Matter publicly with our students?" 
Almost half the teachers at Rufus King stand in front of their classroom wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt every Thursday. 
"When we stand for black lives knowing that that is the heart of our district it's a strong declaration for our students for my students that I see everyday," explained Kelly O'Keefe-Boettcher, Literature teacher. 
"I know what it's like to be profiled and in a school that's almost or over 60% African American males and females I think it's important that we validate these experiences that these kids are seeing," said Thomas Haslett, Arts teacher.  
Ms. Blaauw hopes the shirt lets students see they don't need to live in fear.
"The students should know that I as a white person I value your life.  You do matter, you are important," explained Vanessa Blaauw, Sign Language Interpreter. 
Mr. Etheride wants to build relationships between teachers and students. 
"It's a statement that I feel needs to be made," said David Etheridge, Math teacher. 
The statement is starting a conversation. 
"I get a lot of students, particularly males, that stop and ask me why, why are you wearing that" said Haslett. 
Teachers say students reactions make them believe a t-shirt can make a difference. 
"I've had African American students stop me and say it means a lot to me that you're wearing that shirt," said O'Keefe-Boettcher. 
"Thank you for validating that I matter.  Thank you for validating that my life is important and that's the point," explained Blaauw.