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Illinois student wore Hakuna Matata shirt for cancer awareness. He had to cover it up

Mom talks about school’s ban of cancer awareness shirt

Blake Coil’s mother, Christie Niederbrach Coil, said she doesn't understand why the school made her son cover up a breast cancer awareness shirt.
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Blake Coil’s mother, Christie Niederbrach Coil, said she doesn't understand why the school made her son cover up a breast cancer awareness shirt.

An elementary school student in Belleville, Illinois, was told to cover his cancer awareness shirt, which his mom said he was wearing to honor his grandma’s fight with breast cancer.

Twelve-year-old Blake Coil’s sweatshirt had the phrase “Hakuna Matata” on it, according to a Fox2Now report. The phrase is written so that “tata” is bigger and in a different color from the rest of the letters.

Roosevelt Elementary staff told him to cover it up because it was inappropriate. Roosevelt Principal Craig Hayes told Fox2Now the word “tata” on Blake’s shirt is slang for breast.

Blake’s mother, Christie Coil, said he wore it the day before Halloween and does not understand why school authorities find it inappropriate.

“There’s nothing offensive on the shirt, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to wear,” she said Friday morning.

She doesn’t see the word “tatas” as slang.

“I really don’t think it’s a slang word, it’s just another word ... for breast,” she said, adding she could come up with slang terms that would be inappropriate.

Coil said Hayes talked to her and told her that he spoke with other school officials. He told the mom they support Blake and breast cancer awareness, but they don’t support his sweatshirt.

She has since received a lot of input from other parents and community members via social media.

“I haven’t run into one person that has found it offensive. That’s why we picked it, it’s from the Lion King,” she said.

The phrase is originally from the Disney movie “The Lion King” and means “no worries.”

Hayes did not immediately return requests for comment Friday morning.

Dana Rieck: 618-239-2642, @ByDanaRieck
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