A New Hampshire teenager says she was told to cover up a pro-Donald Trump T-shirt and to remove her “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat during her school’s “America Pride Day” no less.
As Boston’s WFXT-TV reports, Ciretta Mackenzie, a freshman at Epping High School, proudly supports the 45th president, and she figured that wearing clothes expressing that support made perfect sense for her school’s “America Pride Day” on Monday.
Apparently, her classmates didn’t see things that way.
“Some kids are making [me] feel like I’m uneducated and a bad kid for believing what I want to believe and that’s not right.”
School officials also apparently failed to see things from her point of view. She says that she was made to cover up her T-Shirt and to remove her hat. She was able to borrow a sweatshirt from a friend in order to cover the shirt, but nevertheless, she describes the experience as humiliating.
What’s more, she says that her First Amendment rights to free speech were violated, inasmuch as there is no written rule against political clothing. Nor did her clothes that day advocate for any controversial policies.
“It’s just a shirt, and it only says ‘Trump make America great again,’ it doesn’t say anything like build a wall, so I don’t get how it could be offensive, how it could be disrespectful.”
Epping High School freshman Ciretta Mackenzie chose to wear her MAGA gear on ‘America Day’ at school. She was asked to cover up her shirt by the principal, she feels she did not violate the dress code policy and believes her rights were violated @boston25 pic.twitter.com/aPTRbjXsuY— Julie Leonardi (@JulieLeonardiTV) April 12, 2019
School officials did confirm that two students that day were asked to change their clothes, but did not provide specifics and neither confirmed nor denied Ciretta’s version of events. It bears noting that schools are bound to strict federal privacy laws when it comes to student discipline and are generally forbidden from discussing it with the media.
So can a school forbid a student from wearing pro-Trump clothing? Yes and no, according to Public School Review.
A public school can impose a dress code that prohibits advertising, sports team names, and yes, political messages. Or, the school can prohibit political messages specifically, if and only if they are viewpoint-neutral. That is, a school can’t forbid pro-conservative clothes while allowing pro-liberal clothes, or vice-versa. It must be all or nothing.
Meanwhile, Ciretta is not the first high school student to find their pro-Trump clothing unwelcome at their schools. In fact, it’s happened pretty regularly since Trump’s inauguration. By way of example, as The Inquisitr reported in early March, a Florida teenager says that a bus aide tore his MAGA hat off of his head, even though the school’s no-hats rule was waived that day if students brought a donation to the March of Dimes.