The treatment of black women has always been disheartening, to say the least. But for the past few years, watching them lift themselves and each other up through various means has been inspiring and welcomed by many. But, it appears that these efforts to introduce self-love are only accepted by the masses until they threaten to cross a line.

Taiylar Ball, a senior at Homewoof-Floosmoor High School, just outside of Chicago, is now realizing this. After performing a poem entitled “Dear Black Girls” at the school’s talent show, Ball’s privilege to attend prom and walk in her graduation were taken away, according to JET.

“Prom is like a Cinderella thing,” Ball said. “You think about it when you’re young, you wait for it and for it to be taken away from you, it’s very hurtful, especially from your school who you love so much.”

The problem’s reportedly arose because of the use of the word “n*gga” in Ball’s poem, which school officials deemed inappropriate, despite the audience’s overwhelmingly positive reaction.

“It was riveting,” Anthony Davis, a friend, said to JET, “Especially in a day and age where young Black women feel that they are less than and that is perpetuated time and time again.”

After spending $1,000 on her prom dress alone – that number doesn’t include hair, shoes and any of the other many things that go into a proper prom night – Ball and her family were still good sports. The Chicago-area teenager was able to enjoy a sendoff with a number of other couples, ride the limousine to the event in Chicago’s downtown and take pictures with her friends.

However, after she tested the waters to see if she would be allowed entry, she was still turned away at the door.

Homewood-Flossmoor’s student population has been comprised of a majority of black students for years now and currently sits at 66%. This would explain the differences in reactions from the majority of the student body, many other friends supported Ball in comments made to JET, and school administration.

Ball even went as far as to email Principal Ryan M. Pitcock to look into an appeal of the decision to no avail. Pitcock denied an interview on the subject but did say he and Ball would speak about her attending graduation early this week.

Fortunately, the future looks very bright for Ball, who’s received more than $1 million in scholarships and 11 college acceptances. She plans to attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in the fall to study biology/pre-med.

We’re at the time of year where students are being punished for their actions, like Ball and Andrew Jones for his facial hair. Many of the punishments can be seen as anything between severe and overzealous. Hopefully, when everything is said and done, the true message of Ball’s poem is what people remember.

Watch footage of the poem below:

Photo Credit: Andrea V. Watson