A fifth-grade teacher in Detroit is defending herself after she sparked controversy for wearing a sweatshirt to school that read, “Columbus was a murderer.”

“I wanted to wear this shirt to spark discussion,” Emma Howland-Bolton, a teacher at Clippert Multicultural Magnet Honors Academy, told local TV station WXYZ.

Ms. Howland-Bolton proudly wore her “Columbus was a murderer” sweatshirt during her interview with WXYZ, saying she wanted to inspire debate among her students on Columbus Day.

The attire caught the attention of a school administrator, who asked her to take it off, she said.

“I was informed that my shirt was my opinion, and I kind of countered that, actually, it is a fact,” Ms. Howland-Bolton said.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District explained that sweatshirts, in general, are not part of the staff dress code, and further, the political statement on Ms. Howland-Bolton’s clothing was not pre-approved.

Still, the district declined to discipline Ms. Howland-Bolton, who said even though she still supports her decision to wear the shirt, she would think twice before wearing it to school again. She said she’d rather focus on teaching her students than discussing controversies, WXYZ reported.

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