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Beaumont ISD students speak out after district removes fists from Black History Month mural

Administrators released a statement saying the collection of clenched fists was "too political" and was unrelated to the educational purpose of Black History Month.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Beaumont middle school students are frustrated with administrators after they ordered part of a Black History Month mural to be “taken down."

Administrators claimed it was politically controversial.

The students disagree, and say they weren't happy to see their hard work removed.

One student said she felt like her history wasn't being told the right way and that her voice wasn't being heard.

Stroke by stroke, 7th grader Ziyah Caesar was passionate about putting this board together to commemorate Black History Month.

“The wall was black people and their history,” Caesar said. “It was Martin Luther King, George Floyd and it was the first for Black Lives Matter.”

It stood for the fists that have been raised high in the streets, placed on T-shirts, and etched along sidewalks, signifying years of black people fighting back against oppression.

“To me, it symbolizes my life, your life and all of our lives. Black Lives, period,” Caesar said.

Vincent Middle School students said it was an example of art imitating life.

"We took about a month to like decorate the wall before Black History Month," Caesar said.

What was meant to be a point of pride, turned into a source of strife.

“She told me today that the wall was reported,” Caesar said.

Administrators with Beaumont Independent School District released a statement saying the collection of clenched fists was "politically controversial" and "unrelated to the educational purpose of Black History Month."

Credit: BISD

“I was kind of confused,” Caesar said. And she wasn't the only one. Caesar’s classmate Jontai Harmon was also taken back.

"It felt wrong to me, because my teacher put it up because it's Black History Month,” Harmon said. “A lot of people felt like it was going to be a part of our history.”

Their art has since been replaced with a placeholder that reads: "Insert black fist here."

Credit: BISD, KBMT

7th grader Niya Jack said history isn't always comfortable. “We're here to stay, and we're not backing down,” Jack said.

12News reached out to teachers and administrators Thursday, but Beaumont ISD said the statement was the only thing they were releasing.          

We also reached out to the school board to see if they plan to further investigate this situation but have not received a response back yet.

Credit: BISD, KBMT

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