Video of Apex High School student tearing down Black Lives Matter mural goes viral

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Thursday, May 10, 2018
Black Lives Matter mural at Apex High School torn down by student
An Apex High School mural was torn down by a student

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- A video of an Apex student tearing down a Black Lives Matter mural at his high school is going viral on Twitter and now that student has been suspended.

The mural was torn down by 16-year-old Mason Stewart.

He told ABC11 on Thursday that he found the mural to be offensive and inappropriate.

"The mural on the wall was up there for about three or four weeks, 'cause they've been working on it occasionally because it's an art class, and right when I saw the gun go up, that's when I complained and it's still up here since Monday so I tore it down," he said.

Stewart is a junior at the high school.

He said, for weeks, he's complained to teachers and administrators that he didn't feel showing a gun on the mural was appropriate on school grounds.

"It was very offensive and it's pointing fingers to cops, and more likely white officers," he said. "And I have a lot of respect for officers because their job is not easy."

To his chagrin, the art installation was approved ahead of time by school staff.

A student who worked on the project took to social media after the mural was destroyed.

Her tweet has been shared thousands of times and liked by more than 25,000 people.

Other students who spoke to ABC11 on Thursday said they are outraged.

"I find it incredibly disrespectful to the lives that died because they're all innocent and he's trying to say it's freedom of speech, but you're tearing down someone else's freedom of speech basically," said Chavis Coachman.

The principal did post a message on Apex High School's website, saying that defacing school property for any reason is not tolerated.

Stewart was suspended for a post on Instagram about the incident that was deemed racially insensitive.