A New Hampshire high schooler was informed by her principal that she’d have to cover up her “Make America Great Again” shirt and remove a hat with the same logo as they allegedly violated the school’s dress code.
According to Epping High School’s Ciretta Mackenzie, however, there’s no mention of political attire in the school dress code; indeed, she wore the MAGA gear because it was Epping’s “America Pride Day.”
As reported by Boston 25 News, Mackenzie ended up borrowing a friend’s sweatshirt and took off her hat, but said “If [the dress code] said no political gear, I could understand why it was dress coded but it didn’t say that, so I feel like I’m obligated to have my own opinion and other people can have theirs.”
Mackenzie’s father said “political opinions should be allowed and openly discussed in the school setting.” Based on the classic US Supreme Court Tinker ruling, he’s right.
Ciretta said she was ashamed after being asked to cover up, and was upset by some comments made by classmates.
“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,” said Ciretta.
Epping High School Superintendent [Valerie McKenney] told Boston 25 that two students were asked to change what they were wearing.
The incident has been under investigation since Tuesday morning.
The Mackenzie family met with the school principal on Friday to discuss the situation.
In his letter to the Epping school community, Principal Brian Ernest said his team has started to draft a plan to move forward. The plan will work to promote civil discourse and diversity in their schools.
“Since the event of April 8, there has been a multitude of responses, some of which have fact-based information and other responses less factual,” Ernest said in the letter. “I have always been respectful and sincere in my approach to promote civil discourse and free speech/expression. I want our students to be free thinkers and be able to express their opinions in a respectful manner.”
In a seemingly tactfully worded rebuke of Epping High School officials, both the Epping School Board and district central office said that “th[e] event should not ever have taken place” and that district schools should “promote open and free thought and dialogue.”