The Portland Public Schools superintendent has expressed support for the Deering High School principals, who faced backlash on social media for a public statement about the Breonna Taylor case.

Co-principals Abdullahi Ahmed and Alyson Dame tweeted a joint statement on Thursday, the day after a Kentucky grand jury decided not to hand up murder indictments against any of the three Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Taylor in March.

“Like so many of you, we are outraged with the decision of the jury to decide not to charge the officer who shot Breonna Taylor,” the principals wrote. “This is an example of the outcomes of unjust and broken systems. We cannot have peace – in our streets or in our hearts – until we have justice. Today, our thoughts go out to our BIPOC Rams and their families. We vow to continue the work to build a just community here at Deering with and for all of our students. To do this, we stridently affirm that black lives matter.”

While some people responded on Twitter with gratitude and support, others expressed outrage and said the principals should retract the statement.

Superintendent Xavier Botana responded on Twitter and Facebook on Friday evening. He said he stands by the co-principals.

“They have a 1st Amendment right, they are taking a clear stand on behalf of Black Lives, because it matters and they are reflecting our #PortlandPromise commitment to Equity. Couldn’t be prouder of these leaders,” Botana tweeted.

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