Robert Gehl reports that a school district in Georgia was forced to apologize after a teacher told her students they weren’t allowed to wear Donald Trump t-shirts to class.
When several students wore their “Make America Great Again” t-shirts to class last week, the River Ridge High School teacher told them they were not permitted in class. In addition to telling the students they couldn’t wear the shirts, the math teacher shared her personal opinion about the campaign slogan during class.
After a social media outcry, officials at River Ridge High School and the district were forced to apologize. Cherokee County Schools spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said that the teacher was wrong.
“Her actions were wrong, as the ‘Make America Great Again’ shirts worn by the students are not a violation of our School District dress code,” Jacoby said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The school has refused to release the name of the teacher. Here’s the video:
“Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower is deeply sorry that this incident happened in one of our schools,” Jacoby said. “It does not reflect his expectation that all students be treated equally and respectfully by our employees.”
After the video went viral, local officials like State Rep. Earl Ehrhart – a Republican – responded.
“It’s just shocking – you can’t do that to kids,” Ehrhart told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s so wrong on so many levels. That individual doesn’t need to be anywhere near a classroom ever again.”
Ehrhart said he immediately reached out to Rep. Mandi Ballinger, who told The AJC she was satisfied by the district’s response.
“The action has been soundly condemned by the Board of Education and the students were apologized to,” Ballinger said. “I’m glad the school district upheld the students’ right to free speech.”
The state lawmaker who represents the area where River Ridge High School is located said the incident was “despicable.”
“It’s ironic to me that the political left claims to promote free speech, but then attempts to silence conservative free speech,” Rep. John Carson told The AJC in an email.
The school’s principal immediately met with and apologized to these students and their families, Jacoby said.
Jacoby said the district would not discuss disciplinary action against the teacher.
“We can assure you that the students face no disciplinary action,” she said.
Hightower has instructed all principals to meet with their teachers and staff to review the dress code and remind them that their political opinions should not be shared with students.
This isn’t the first time a school has drawn controversy over political displays in the classroom.
Last August, Mariah Havard wore a shirt emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” to picture day at her high school in Buckeye, Arizona. In a widely shared Facebook post, Havard said she was told her shirt was “disruptive in a learning environment” and was asked to change into a plain white T-shirt. A week later, after another student at the school was asked to remove a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, a small group of students staged a walkout over the incidents.
H/T: The Hill