A high school basketball coach in Florida is alleging the school he worked for discriminated against him when he was terminated from his position.
Brett Studley filed a discrimination complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations after he was fired by American Heritage for allowing his players to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts during pre-game warm-ups after the school failed to appropriately address racial issues amongst its students.
Studley was fired on June 10, 2021 after administrators canceled a series of games and a fundraiser.
According to The Palm Beach Post, Studley, who coached at the school for four years, led the Stallions to their first-ever regional title in 2020-21.His record at Heritage was 54-43 (18 of those losses came in his first season). He also led the Stallions to two district titles.
The schools told the Post back in December that players wearing Black Lives Matter shirts was a violation of the school’s jersey policy and was never approved by the administration.
"We as parents expect our teachers and coaches to support our kids," said Chuck Rodman, who is representing Studley. "Mr. Studley did what we would want our own teachers to do, support his students in what he perceived to be discriminatory actions. In doing so, he put his own livelihood on the line, and it is wrong that he and his family should suffer for doing the right thing.”
This isn’t the first time American Heritage has been in hot water over issues related to race. In 2018, former Heat star Dwayne Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, supported an investigation that charged the school with race-based expulsion of a Black student.
Studley is supported by a number of his former students at American Heritage.
“It takes a lot of courage for a successful coach to put his neck on the line to stand up for students of color in a private school setting in Florida, especially in today’s climate, and make them feel supported," said Monge Codio, the father of former American Heritage standout Jordana Codio, who since has transferred to Montverde Academy for her senior season.
Studley is asking that any donations supporting his case be made to the ACLU of Florida and the Black Girls Matter Miami Coalition.