North Miami Beach High Senior T-Shirts Squashed By School Board After Uproar

Categories: News
nmbclassshirt.jpg
courtesy Stephanie Kienzle
This North Miami Beach High senior shirt didn't pass School Board muster.
​When Stephanie Kienzle, a North Miami Beach activist and blogger, saw the official senior class shirts that the proud grads of 2012 would be rocking around NMB High's hallowed hallways, she did a double take. Then she jumped online to kick up a shitstorm that in the past two weeks has left a rather poorly written shirt -- and waves of furious teen commenters -- in its angry wake.

"There was already a bad enough perception of North Miami Beach without these shirts representing our school," Kienzle says.

The shirts in question, apparently designed and approved by a group of seniors, depicted a roided-up-looking knight gripping a decapitated old man's head by the hair, along with the feisty but grammatically incorrect proclamation, "Who Gonna Stop Us."

On November 3, Kienzle wrote on her blog, votersopinion.com, that students should be angry because "now they have to wear a class T-shirt that tells the world they are nothing but a group of ghetto thugs whose only achievement is poor grammar and graphic violence."

Kienzle called out longtime principal Ray Fontana for allegedly signing off on the shirts. The next day, Miami-Dade school board member Martin Karp called Fontana and asked him to ax the shirts. Fontana agreed. (The principal didn't respond to a message requesting comment for this story.)

That wasn't the end of the school pride drama, though. Commenters began lambasting Kienzle, accusing her of exploiting the racial divide at a school that has tipped from mostly white to mostly black in the past decade.

"Seriously, Miss (I call you 'Miss' because a frigid bitch like you obviously isn't married), you speak as if you know... the students," one commenter claiming to be a junior at the school wrote. "On behalf of all students at NMB, I would like to say screw you."

Then things got really nasty. Others claimed Kienzle was bitter about how her own kids were treated at the school. When commenters started attacking her family, she pulled the posts.

In hindsight, Kienzle says she's glad she stuck her nose in the school's business, but thinks she should have been better prepared for the backlash. "The bottom line was that these shirts were an insult to North Miami Beach."

Here's a larger view of the now banned shirts:

nmbclassshirt.jpg
via Stephanie Kienzle
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16 comments
MonaLisa
MonaLisa

IT'S JUST A SHIRT! You guys make it seem like it's such a big issue, isn't there bigger problems in your community? Like the students stealing SSN from people who live in Miami Beach, Sunny Isles, Aventura, and any where else they know people with a lot of money live. But now they are getting extremely greedy so they go for anyone, including there peers. How do you think the majority of them pay for their vast amount of Jordan shoes, expensive cars they rent for prom and days after, name brand clothes, and of course STRIPPERS? They have no job, unless you count stealing private info from others one. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT! And worry about that instead of a harmless shirt. They obviously know it's in slang, and before you criticize them think back to when you were in high school.....It's just fun.                                                                                          -A Local High School Student

Howard Camner
Howard Camner

It absolutely does tell the world that they are illiterate and do have a ghetto mindset whether it's true or not. And if it is not true, for those kids who do have some brains and aren't headed for prison, I would think they would be ashamed to wear that rag. South Florida has gone to ruin because it was allowed to happen. this is a perfect example. Those kids should have more respect for themselves. As far as that principal goes, he needs to understand his position more.  

Enoughsaid
Enoughsaid

No way....they can't even spell?  Wow...did NMB lower their standards or what?  This is Not the way I remember High School...class of 1985.  Main Stream English for Ebonics, I never thought I would see the day.....

Alex
Alex

I'd the knight is no problem. What is a problem is the fact that the grammar makes the school look like its populated by a bunch of ghetto people who don't care about their education.

I mean it is, but they shouldn't be proud of it.

An
An

the shirt is terrible. the picture doesnt depict anything like what the mascot really is. violence aside, the grammar is also terrible... didnt you just go to school for 4 years to try to do better than that? (c/o 02)

ionNMB
ionNMB

"Who gonna stop us?" Apparently, Stephanie Kienzle will.

how silly of her
how silly of her

if we're gonna be historically accurate, the shirt depicts Knights correctly.  let's not kid ourselves, knights were brutal. 

Thynameisjamar
Thynameisjamar

I find Kienzle's comments and opinions to be ridiculous and her requests without merit. Violent shirt? Yes? Distasteful? Absolutely not. Let kids be kids and stop being a prude.

Ryan Sholin
Ryan Sholin

Are we sure the decapitated old man head isn't just, like, a Pioneer? (Go Chargers, Class of '94)

Jw74oi
Jw74oi

I last attended N.M.B.Sr. in ' 89 and it wasn't too bad of a school. I see that it pretty much went right in the toilet since. I find it disturbing and pathetic that this is the kind of education this school is serving to our kids. What happened to teaching and using proper grammar? Using slang on the streets and sounding like a first class moron - to sound cool - is one thing, but to print grammatically incorrect ghetto slang on a graduating-class shirt doesn't say much for the institution it's representing.

Stephanie Kienzle
Stephanie Kienzle

Only one problem.  The school mascot isn't a knight.  It's a charger.  How silly of you.

f b
f b

kids? 18 year olds?   This was a horrible decision by the principal. It cheapens their school. And since it is not a private school, it cheapens their community. She didnt sued. She took it to the right people and got it resolved rather quickly. She is a leader. Good for her.

how silly of her
how silly of her

really, a "charger". who's depicted "charging"? oh my! it's a knight!

C/O 2000
C/O 2000

it's a knight on a horse, "charging", hence the name "NMB Chargers". 

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