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Principal apologizes to student after telling her to cover up her pro-Trump T-shirt


The principal initially said that the teen violated school dress code

Image source: WFTX-TV video screenshot

A New Hampshire principal has apologized to a female student after first telling her to cover up her pro-President Donald Trump T-shirt.

What's a brief history on the issue?

The student, high school freshman Ciretta MacKenzie, wore the shirt last week for the school's America pride day. Principal Brian Ernest, however, took issue with the pro-Trump gear and told her that she would have to cover it up because it violated dress code.

Ciretta revealed that Ernest told her Trump is a controversial president, and Ernest didn't want to alienate students throughout the day or make it a political point of contention.

Ciretta said that she asked the principal what would happen if she couldn't find a different shirt to put on, and he purportedly told her that she would have to be separated from the rest of the students. The teen was able to borrow a sweatshirt from a friend, and ended up taking off her hat, but felt that Ernest's request violated her First Amendment rights.

Epping School District Superintendent Valerie McKenney said that an investigation into the incident was ongoing, noting that the district "will take steps to remedy this situation for all parties involved and ensure that this type of situation never happens again."

You can read more on the story's background here.

So what is Ernest saying now?

Ernest issued an apology in letter Friday, according to WBZ-TV.

A portion of the letter stated, "I want our students to be free thinkers and be able to express their opinions in a respectful manner."

He also explained that he'd met with the teen and her family to issue a formal apology.

"We have begun to draft a plan to move forward to promote civil discourse and diversity in our schools," the letter continued. "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."

McKenney issued a follow-up letter of her own on the incident.

She wrote, "The Epping School Board and Epping District's position is that this event should not have ever taken place, and we are committed to the creation of a school environment that promotes open and free thought and dialogue."

The outlet also reported that the MacKenzie family believes Ernest's apology is genuine, and they bear no hard feelings toward the principal.

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