A New Jersey high school student says he was ejected from an online class after a teacher ordered him to take down a Trump 2020 flag in his room.
Anthony Ribeiro, a junior at Toms River High School North, says he was at home sitting in front of his computer while his chemistry teacher was taking attendance prior to a virtual class on Oct. 8th.
“When he took attendance, he said, ‘Anthony, take down the sign right now. There’s no place in my room for politics,’” Ribeiro explained in comments to NJ Advance Media. “Then, he asked again. I just shook my head, ‘no.’”
“Then he said, ‘If you’re not going to take it down, it’s unacceptable and I’m going to have to ask you to leave the class today.’”
Ribeiro says he waved goodbye, exited the class, and informed his mother, Tara Jost, about what had happened.
“I was totally shocked,” Jost said. “My son takes his academics very seriously, and for this teacher to kick him out of learning that day for something that was in my home — it wasn’t offensive to anyone, it wasn’t something put in anyone’s face, it wasn’t a distraction to anyone. I don’t think he should’ve been kicked out of class for that.”
The following day, the chemistry teacher did not say anything about the flag, but an English teacher also asked Ribeiro to remove the banner.
“She just said, ‘I would appreciate it if you took it down. I respect you got into politics. I respect your view. I just don’t want it to cause a distraction or offend anyone in the class,’” Ribeiro said.
“I took it down because, one, I’m a very conscious person of my grades… and also, compared to the chemistry teacher, it was almost like she was talking — not teacher to student, but person to person.”
— njdotcom (@njdotcom) October 15, 2020
While the school has reportedly not confirmed the events that allegedly took place, a spokesman says the district is “handling the matter internally.”
“The student was not in violation of any general code of conduct or any policy specifically related to virtual learning. We have worked with and are continuing to work with all involved parties to resolve the issue and move forward,” district spokesman Michael Kenny told the Patch.
Jost says she hopes the teachers will apologize to Ribeiro, but the district has reportedly claimed it is against policy.
“These teachers should teach their subject and not go off the subject,” Jost said. “These kids have enough to deal with, especially this year.”
“I was very angry at him for taking down the banner,” she continued. “I told him to put it back up.”
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