A student is fighting his high school to get his name on a sweater. As the New York Daily News reported, Malcolm Xavier Combs wanted to get the name “Malcolm X” printed on the back of his senior sweater from Christ the King High School in Queens.
He said a school official named Veronica Arbitello “told me ... that’s someone I don’t want to be associated with."
“All I wanted was the ‘X.’ My name is Malcolm Xavier Combs," said the 17-year-old student, who shares a name with the civil rights activist.
Arbitello is listed as the assistant principal of instruction for computer science, guidance and social studies, as well as the supervisor of the guidance department and the sophomore class.
Combs' parents aren't happy with the school's decision, adding that the school didn't seem too familiar with the civil rights activist and what he represents.
“They pulled him out of class to tell him that a man who said, ‘A man without an education, you have nothing,’ is someone he shouldn’t be associated with,” mother Mychelle Combs said, referencing Malcolm X.
Combs said that Arbitello also joked about his name with her husband, high school school basketball coach Joe Arbitello, introducing him as “the new Malcolm X.”
“I felt insulted. They just laughed at me ... that’s my name, Malcolm X, not a nickname," Combs said.
Christ the King declined to comment. Combs’ parents, however, have scheduled a meeting and reached out to Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network to join them.
“This is absurd that in 2018 we have to teach school administration how to be culturally sensitive,” said Rev. Kevin McCall, crisis director for the organization. “In the spirit of Malcolm X, we are calling cultural inclusion events with this school administration so that they can understand what it means to be black in America.”
Combs' mother said they don't have plans to pursue legal action, but they want the school to understand inclusivity and diversity. She’s asking for the faculty to get culture-sensitivity training and for the school to increase minority staff.
“I’m asking for a legacy for the African-American students who come in after my son, so they won’t be ridiculed for their culture,” she said. “Malcolm X not only represented African-Americans, he also represented Muslims. I wonder if she has a problem with them as well.”
[Photo: Getty Images]