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NH High School Freshman Told She Could Not Wear “TRUMP” Shirt … On “America Day”

April 11, 2019

Epping High School freshman Ciretta MacKenzie, 14, wore her Trump t-shirt because her school was celebrating America Day. But because it was a Trump shirt, she was called to the principal’s office and was told the shirt had to be replaced or covered.

The Union Leader (UL)  reports that Ciretta was told by her school principal, Brian Ernest, that “he didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable in school” and that the school did not intend America Day to be “political.”

So the youngster borrowed a sweatshirt from a friend and covered her Trump shirt, which read “Trump: Make America Great Again.”

“I thought for America Day it would be OK and there wouldn’t be an issue,” Ciretta told the UL.

According to the UL, Ciretta’s mother, Rose MacKenzie, emailed Ernest requesting clarification. In his emailed reply, Ernest said, in part, “I explained that we need to separate political views from patriotism. In today’s climate it is important to not mix church or state.”

No further clarification was given about the meaning of Ernest’s statement.

The UL also reports that the school district Superintendent Valerie Mackenney “declined to comment.” However, school board Chair Dave Mylott said he intends to address the issue in the board’s April 18 meeting.

Mylott told the UL that he did not think the principal’s decision was “maliciously intended,” but it did merit further review.

When talking to Ernest in his office, Ciretta said that he told her she was not in trouble, only that she needed to get a different shirt, as Trump “is a controversial President.” The UL reports that Ciretta’s shirt was not technically in violation of the school’s dress code; had it been, Ciretta may have faced an in-school suspension.

Ciretta told the UL that she told Ernest “she understood, but at the same time, said Trump is still the President.” The UL further reports that when she asked her principal what the consequence would be if she refused to change or cover her shirt, she was told she might “have to be separated from the rest of the students.”

Ciretta commented to the UL she believed “it would have been better to allow her to wear” her shirt, and then make it clear to the rest of the student body that “if anyone harassed her during the day” there would be consequences for those harassers.

Rose MacKenzie recognized that the principal was likely trying to protect her daughter from harassment, but that she also felt the issue should have been handled differently:

“I think it’s a good time for people to stop and reflect, ‘Am I teaching my child to be respectful of other people’s opinions?’ In my opinion the school shouldn’t be put in that position,” she said.

The underlying issue, she said, is that adults aren’t practicing tolerance and respect, so neither are children.

“That’s the real problem,” she said.

The UL reports Ciretta bought her Trump t-shirt last year during a class trip to Washington DC.

 

 

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