POLITICS

Middle School Removes The Word 'Feminist' From Girl's Shirt In Class Photo

04/21/2015 04:17 pm ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015

When Sophie Thomas saw her eighth grade class' picture recently, she couldn't believe what she was looking at.

"I checked it to make sure I didn't look dumb or anything -- closing my eyes," Thomas told Fox19, an affiliate in Cincinnati, last week. "I saw that they I saw that they had removed the word from my shirt, and I was insanely upset."

The word the school removed was "feminist."

Principal Kendra Young, who later apologized to Thomas, told the station that although the shirt did not violate the school's dress code, she was worried some might find it "offensive." Therefore, she decided to remove the word.

Superintendent Ralph Shell said the school also changed another part of the photo, because there were "some young men in the background that were doing not appropriate things with their hands."

"So the principal made the decision to airbrush the word feminism and the hands out," he said.

Thomas and her friends publicized the incident on Twitter using the hashtags #KeepFeminismInSchools and #IDeserveFreedomOfExpression.

Thomas' mother, Christine, told the site Women Should Know that the principal called her and apologized after getting media inquiries. She then met with Thomas, who said she wanted to start a broader discussion about feminism.

"I was so proud of her," said Christine. "She never once said I want a public apology or anything like that. She just wants to give to others. She is such a great kid."

Thomas had worn the shirt to school before picture day. She chose to wear it on this occasion because she had recently had a conversation with a high school student who she said had made some sexist remarks.

Shell told writer Soraya Chemaly late last week that the episode "has become a news media nightmare and it’s based on false information." He added that the principal, Thomas and the photographer all agreed to make the "unflattering" photo "flattering." Thomas has repeatedly denied that she agreed to the change.

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