US

North Carolina principal who forced student to remove Trump-themed jersey hit with reality check

A North Carolina principal who forced a student to remove a Trump-themed jersey at a football game has been removed from her job. (Image via Twitter @TimABC11 screenshot)

A North Carolina high school principal has been replaced after she forced a student to remove a Trump-themed jersey worn to a patriotic-themed football game.

What happened?

As TheBlaze reported, Matthew Collins wore a red, white, and blue jersey with President Donald Trump's name on the back adorned with the number "45" to his school's Oct. 5 matchup against Lee County High School.

Sometime during the game school principal Cindy Gordon approached Collins and told him that in order to stay at the game he would be required to take off his jersey. She also gave him the option to leave the game, WRAL-TV reported. Gordon alleges Collins' shirt created a "disruption."

Michael Collins, Matthew's father, told WRAL that his son was "just minding his own business." Matthew complied with Gordon's request, but felt humiliated so he left the game.

After the incident gained local media attention, a Harnett County school district spokeswoman released a statement saying, "Harnett County Schools supports and affirms students’ rights to express themselves."

"As long as the expression does not disrupt, and is not reasonably expected to disrupt, the educational mission of the school system, these rights include wearing clothing expressing political messages or supporting political candidates," the spokeswoman said.

What led to the firing?

Then on Friday, Harnett County Schools announced it had replaced Gordon "effective immediately." In a statement, district leadership said the decision was directly related to the Trump jersey incident.

The district said:

After completing its review of an event that took place at the football game at Harnett Central High School on Friday, October 5, the school district is announcing several personnel changes. Effective immediately, Ms. Catherine Jones, current principal at Harnett Primary, will serve as principal at Harnett Central High School. Ms. Calvetta Dunkins, who is currently an assistant principal at Dunn Middle School, will serve as interim principal at Harnett Primary School. Harnett County Schools leadership appreciates all the patience of families, students, and the community during this process.

Again, we want to emphasize that Harnett County Schools supports and affirms students’ rights to express themselves—including wearing clothing expressing political messages or supporting political candidates or officeholders—in ways that are not expected to disrupt school or school events.

Tony Buzzard, an attorney representing the Collins family, expressed gratitude with the district's decision.

"We’re very pleased that the school board and the county were quick to resolve the issue," he said, according to News&Observer.

One last thing…
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