An outstanding Marshalltown High School athlete, Blair Van Staalduine, is being suspended for three games by the school’s principal after a photo surfaced of Blair dressed in all white.
Cathy Van Staalduine says her son was suspended after a picture of him was posted on social media making the letter “W” with his hands. The school apparently thought that was a racist symbol. But Mrs. Van Staalduine says the picture was taken during school spirit week when different grades had to wear different colors.
“The actual school chose the colors that each grade would be wearing. Juniors wore white. So Blair of course being active in the school dressed from head to toe in white,” she explains, “Somebody took a picture of him with his white doing a ‘W’ sign because they were wearing white. Blair says if they were wearing orange they would have done an ‘O.’”
Blair commented on the controversy, saying, “if they were wearing orange, they would have done an O.” Mrs. Van Staalduine has requested that Phomvisay reverse the suspension, and for the school district to issue an apology. If her request isn’t met, she is planning to sue the school district.
Here’s the thing: the school determined what colors would be used for spirit week. It seems Phomvisay isn’t considering the fact that Blair is just a really engaged student who wanted to show his enthusiasm for the special occasion.
The money part of this is that Blair’s mother is steaming mad about the accusation. She demands that the suspension be dropped, and a public apology be issued from the school. Cathy Van Staalduine appears to be positioning herself to sue the school, which has not commented on it due to “student confidentiality.”
It’s gotten to the point where flimsy accusations of racism aren’t just annoying, but they can damage a young man’s future prospects. If such a baseless charge were to keep him from getting into a college, then the incident could harm him the rest of his life.