EAST WINDSOR, N.J. (CBS) – Fourteen-year-old Torri Albrecht’s confederate flag sweatshirt has special meaning to her.
“Southern pride, I’m proud of where I come from,” Torri explained.
“It’s heritage, not hate, Torri’s from the south,” her mom Jane West said.
West says the sweatshirt is the reason Torri is home in East Windsor instead of in 8th grade classes at Kreps Middle School in Hightstown. After wearing the sweatshirt to school on Monday, November 7th and the week prior, Torri says the vice principal told her she had to take it off.
“They said it was inappropriate and people were offended,” Torri said.
Torri’s mom says the vice principal called her shortly after school started.
“He said if I didn’t bring her a change of clothes, she’ll suffer the consequences, she’ll be suspended,” Jane explained.
In a statement, school district superintendent Dr. Edward Forst-Hoffer said: “No student was suspended for wearing an inappropriate shirt. We cannot comment on why the student was suspended because of confidentiality policies.”
Torri’s suspension notice refers to her wearing an inappropriate shirt, refusing to remove or turn it inside out. It also says she used foul language.
“I just said I wasn’t going to take it off. They said I was being disrespectful, but I wasn’t,” Torri said.
The dress code requires students to dress in attire that doesn’t distract from the educational process. Torri says none of her friends were bothered.
“By doing this, they put my daughter out there and portrayed her as someone who may be racist, and now she’s getting death threats,” Jane said.
Torri says now that people know where she lives, ‘it’s kind of scary.’
Jane says the school called her Tuesday and told her Torri is welcome back at school and can wear her sweatshirt.
The school principal, Lori Stein, confirmed this for Eyewitness News. However, when we asked why was she now allowed to wear the sweatshirt, she wouldn’t give any further information.
Jane wants an apology, the suspension rescinded and her daughter transferred. She is also considering a lawsuit against the school district.
Reported by Robin Rieger, CBS 3