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Principal Apologizes for Making Student Cover Up Trump T-Shirt

April 13, 2019

A New Hampshire high school principal has apologized for ordering a student to cover up a pro-Trump T-shirt earlier this week

Brian Ernest, the principal of Epping High School, issued the apology Friday, four days after telling 14-year-old freshman Ciretta MacKenzie that the Make America Great Again T-shirt she was wearing had to be covered because Donald Trump is a controversial president and he didn’t want people to be offended, according to The Union Leader.

“We have begun to draft a plan to move forward to promote civil discourse and diversity in our schools. In retrospect, I want to fully acknowledge my error in judgement and sincerely apologize if my actions were misinterpreted and offended anyone. That was never my intention,” he wrote in a letter to the school community on Friday, April 12, according to The Union Leader.

Monday, April 8 was America Day at Epping High School, for which students were encouraged to wear something red, white, and blue to show their patriotism. The pro-Trump T-shirt Ciretta wore is mostly white but also has red and blue.

“I was supporting my president. What is wrong with that?” Ciretta told WMUR-TV Channel 9 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

She said she got harassed by fellow students after the principal told her to put something on over the T-shirt.

“After I covered up — because I was kind of ashamed — kids who don’t support Trump, some of them were kind of like, ‘Oh, you get what you deserve, shouldn’t be wearing that’,” she told WMUR-TV Channel 9.

After the incident, the principal sent an email message to the student’s mother describing how he handled Ciretta’s T-shirt:

“I explained that we need to separate political views from patriotism. In today’s climate it is important to not mix church or state.”

The superintendent of schools in Epping announced earlier this week an investigation into the incident, saying she wants to make sure it never happens again. The Epping School Board plans to discuss it Thursday, April 18.

Epping is a town of about 6,400 people in southeastern New Hampshire about 16 miles west of Portsmouth and about 20 miles east of Manchester.

Mackenzie Ciretta of Epping, New Hampshire. Image courtesy of WMUR-TV Channel 9 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

 

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