A freshman at a high school in New Hampshire received an apology from her principal after she was ordered to remove a shirt and hat promoting President Donald Trump.
Ciretta MacKenzie, 15, says she was confused because she wore the items to celebrate the school’s American Pride Day, but last Monday Epping High School Principal Brian Ernest asked her to change her clothes because it could offend other students.
“It was a shirt and it only says, ‘Trump: Make America Great Again,’” Ciretta said. “It doesn’t say anything like ‘build a wall,’ so I don’t understand how anyone could be offended, how it’s disrespectful.”
MacKenzie’s story soon went viral after it was picked by local media.
She said the school went too far and violated her First Amendment rights.
“If it 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,” she said. “We don’t have to agree, that’s fine.”
Epping High freshman Ciretta MacKenzie wasn’t trying to make a statement in her ‘Make America Great Again’ T-shirt, students had been asked to wear red, white and blue to celebrate American pride. Then the school told her to remove it or else.https://t.co/olnzIPvrIu pic.twitter.com/3yI6BBLdmJ
— UnionLeader.com (@UnionLeader) April 10, 2019
.@EppingHighNH freshman Ciretta MacKenzie says she was taken out of class on Monday and told that her @realDonaldTrump T-shirt violated the dress code. #NBC10Boston #NECN pic.twitter.com/FzugxdTgEo
— Mike Manzoni NBC10 Boston (@MikeNBCBoston) April 11, 2019
On Friday Principal Ernest issued an apology to MacKenzie, saying he had acted in error.
“We have begun to draft a plan to move forward to promote civil discourse and diversity in our schools,” Ernest stated. “In retrospect, I want to fully acknowledge my error in judgment and sincerely apologize if my actions were misinterpreted and offended anyone. That was never my intention.”
School district superintendent Valerie McKenny also issued a statement to the community saying the incident should never have happened.
“The Epping School Board and Epping District’s position is that this event should not ever have taken place, and we are committed to the creation of a school environment that promotes open and free thought and dialogue.”
MacKenzie’s family is relieved and satisfied by the apology, according to CBS Boston.