St. Johns County

St. Augustine girls’ basketball team told it can’t wear Black Lives Matter warmup shirts

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The St. Augustine High School girls’ basketball team said the St. Johns County School District denied its request to wear Black Lives Matter warmup shirts before games.

Kyra Stauble, a star player and team captain for the Yellow Jackets, came up with the idea. Action News Jax spoke with the senior, with permission from her parents. She said she’s worn a Black Lives Matter shirt during pre-game warmups all season long.

“It’s just a way of me trying to raise awareness and saying that all people should be treated equally,” Stauble said. “I like to use my voice for stuff that I believe in.”

She said it was never an issue until last week.

“I was told by our athletic director that I wouldn’t be able to wear it because it wasn’t matching with the rest of the team,” Stauble said.

The next day at practice, Stauble said she asked her teammates if they wanted to get matching shirts supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. She said they were supportive.

“The whole team was for it,” Stauble said. “If any of the players didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have done it.”

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A parent ordered custom Black Lives Matter shirts with the school’s logo on the sleeve.

Before last Friday’s playoff game, the team was told they couldn’t wear the shirts because it wasn’t an approved uniform.

The St. Johns County Public School District sent Action News Jax this statement:

“These shirts were not part of their official warm-up uniforms. They can wear the shirts after the game, at school, and anywhere else with the exception of the athletic competition when they should be wearing the school-approved uniforms for warm-ups and games. It was communicated to our principals and athletic directors prior to the start of our athletic seasons that our teams should only be wearing school approved athletic apparel with regards to official uniforms worn when on the courts, fields etc.. representing their respective schools during athletic contests. School Board Rule 4.06 and 4.09 denotes that Athletics and Extra-Curricular programs operate under the direct supervision and control of the Principal. This also aligns with multiple FHSAA policies 2.5.1, 3.5.1, and 6.1.1(d) as well, referencing all aspects of the interscholastic athletic programs. This certainly includes the decisions encompassing team uniforms selected, purchased and provided to athletes. FHSAA 6.1.2 also allows delegation of these responsibilities to an administrative designee who would be the Athletic Director. That said, as we discussed, it was made clear from the Principal and Athletic Director that these were created by a parent and were not approved by either of them as part of the official uniform.”

“I’m just disappointed in the situation, in the school district for making that decision and saying I’m not allowed to wear it, considering I’ve been wearing it all season,” Stauble said.

Stauble said she won’t let this spoil what’s been a remarkable basketball season. The Yellow Jackets are 26-1. Thursday, the team plays in the state semi-finals. If they win, they’ll head to the state championship game.

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“It’s definitely been an awesome season,” Stauble said. “I think this is the most successful St. Augustine High girls’ basketball team.”

While the team can’t wear the Black Lives Matter shirts on the court, Stauble said she still plans to get her message across.

“I’ll be personally walking into the gym in mine,” Stauble said. “I’ll still be wearing mine until we do a warmup on the court and then I’ll change into our approved warm-ups and then I’ll put this one back on after the game.”

Stauble signed to play basketball at the University of West Florida where she said her activism will continue on and off the court.

“I’m going to continue to stand up for it and fight for it,” Stauble said.