A Vero Beach, Florida, high school student elected class president was disqualified after the fact and given a detention for a brief, satirical speech that mentioned building a wall.
In remarks during AP history class, which he described as completely off the cuff, J.P. Krause joked that his rival in the election for class president would advance communist ideas and, among other things, implement a dress code. As his classmates laughed, he also proposed building a wall between his school and a neighboring high school and making the latter pay for it.
Despite winning the student body election the next day, the principal disqualified President-elect Krause for creating “public humiliation” and harassing the other candidate, NBC affiliate WPTV in West Palm Beach reported.
The Vero Beach high school principal elaborated on Krause’s disqualification in a statement, Fox News explained.
“Speeches must focus on realistic and pertinent issues. The insulting language in this speech was of a nature that created a situation of public humiliation and therefore violated school district rules pertaining to harassment.”
J.P. Krause told Fox & Friends that the 90-second speech was “completely a joke from the beginning and completely satirical.” He added that school officials told him that the communism quip constituted harassment.
Krause was somewhat noncommittal about whether he got in trouble for sounding like President Donald Trump. “I couldn’t tell you, but it’s there.”
As a public institution, the high school is bound by the freedom of speech protections in the U.S. Constitution. The Pacific Legal Foundation has jumped into the case to represent J.P. Krause pro bono (i.e., for free) and has asked the school board to reinstate him as class president.
On its website, the organization announced that “PLF has sent a formal letter to officials with Vero Beach High School, calling on them to rescind their unwarranted and unconstitutional punishment of PLF’s client, J.P. Krause, for the ‘offense’ of delivering a harmless, tongue-in-cheek speech as a candidate for student body president.”
In a separate incident, New Jersey school district officials are trying to determine why pro-Trump messages were cropped out of yearbook photos of two students. For the class picture, one student was wearing a vest bearing Trump’s name while another student’s T-shirt read “Trump Make America Great Again.”
There is also a class president connection in this mystery. “The Wall Township district also is probing why a Trump quote submitted by the freshman class president wasn’t included under her photo while a quote by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appeared under the senior class president’s photo,” the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News reported.
The school superintendent acknowledged there is no dress-code prohibition for expressing political views. According to the Associated Press, the yearbook adviser is now suspended pending an investigation.
Censorship, if proven, would violate the First Amendment.
As the Inquisitr reported last month, an apparent reference to President Trump’s campaign promise to build that security wall at the U.S.-Mexican border prompted North Carolina education administrators to confiscate copies of a high school yearbook.
As a result, graduates at that school (and anyone else for that matter) apparently won’t receive a yearbook at all, after school officials determined that it was too late to reprint a corrected run before summer vacation started on May 18. Presumably that decision could be revisited, however. The controversy got started because students at Richmond Early College High School were permitted to include a quote under their yearbook photo. One female graduating senior chose “Build that wall” and attributed it to Donald Trump. Officials determined the quote in question was inappropriate and confiscated about 22 yearbooks that had already been distributed. Administrators impounded the rest of the yearbooks.
Do you think that the Vero Beach incident in which a student election was overturned could be a kind of a Donald Trump impeachment on a small scale?
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]