Tamia Williams designed a painting for the parking lot as part of her senior class’s fundraiser. She and her friends painted a black woman with “princess” written on top and “#blacklivesmatter” written underneath on Saturday Sept. 17. After it was painted an image of it was shared widely on social media. School officials announced the following Monday that the painting and others would get covered, because it wasn’t covered by school district policy. Students protested the removal of the art with a sit-in and counter-protesters responded by waving confederate flags and, according to the student protesters, delivering fried chicken and watermelon to the students.
“We, the students and adults of Mountain Home who participated in the protests of Tuesday and Wednesday, are dismayed by the loss of our parking spot artwork. Most of us were unaware that the murals would be painted over; the district office never directly communicated the final plans to the student body,” said one of the protesters, Katie Blackwell in a statement. “Although our artwork has been painted over, we know that through our silent protest, our voices have been heard throughout the country.”
Superintendent James Gilbert released a statement regarding the painting over of parking spots:
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“The Mountain Home High School parking lot was painted over and re-striped this past weekend as part of an agreed-upon resolution between the superintendent and (Associated Student Body) president. Before the end of 17the day on Friday, the ASB president consulted with students who had painted parking spots previously. She shared the proposal (below) with those students. All involved were agreeable to the resolution.
Students will be allowed to paint a smaller area within each stall. All paintings must be approved by administration and must comply with specific guidelines. The specific blue color associated with handicapped parking will not be allowed. Those who previously purchased their spot will be reimbursed $20 dollars and allowed to repaint their spot. If they choose not to repaint they will receive the entire $45. The high school will also reimburse the students for paint and provide paint for those 12 individuals should they choose to participate. Any new students that are going to paint will pay the full $45. It was agreed that the murals would be painted over on Sunday and the parking lines would be restriped.”