A New Jersey high school student said the National Honor Society rejected him due his public support of President Donald Trump — but the superintendent countered that political affiliation isn't a factor in NHS selection, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Holmdel High School junior Boris Kizenko said in an
interview this week with WXKW-FM that the trouble started last year when he created "Make Holmdel Great Again" T-shirts — a reference to Trump's 2016 campaign slogan — for his re-election as class president. Boris lost the election.
He added that while he was class president, his class adviser rejected his idea for a paintball fundraiser and then when Boris asked the principal for a second opinion, he was reprimanded.
The Trump quotation that broke the camel's back
Boris told WXKW that also when he was class president, he posted daily inspirational quotations on the class' Instagram page — everything from the words of Marcus Aurelius to the sage advice of Yoda.
But one day he chose a Trump quotation: "If you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big."
Apparently that was going too far.
Boris said administrators took down the Instagram post and revoked his administrative privileges on all class social media accounts, the Press said. He added to WXKW that the higher-ups said he was "being a monarch" and that the Trump quotation "doesn't represent ideals of the class"
He said he appealed the administration's decision — and a "conduct report" was the result, the paper said.
National Honor Society says no way
Boris told WXKW he was rejected by the National Honor Society over the incidents, which the one school official said reflected a "character issue," the Press reported.
More from the paper:
A handful of 11th and 12th graders are inducted into the National Honor Society each year. To be eligible, students must have at least a 3.66 GPA, show leadership skills and several hours of extracurricular activities and community service, according to the school website.
Applicants are also required to show they have a positive character: "The student should demonstrate an empathetic, compassionate, caring and kind behavior and attitude. The faculty council does recognize that students make mistakes. It is most important that full responsibility for their actions is assumed and a positive life-change is displayed as a result," according to the website.
It was noted during the WXKW interview with Boris that he has 200 hours of community service and a grade-point average that's technically higher than 4.0.
When Boris learned he wasn't getting into the NHS, he said he launched an appeal but that the principal wouldn't release the names of those in charge of accepting applicants.
What did the superintendent have to say?
Robert McGarry, superintendent of Holmdel Township Public Schools, told the Press that state and federal laws prohibit him from disclosing students' personal information, including grade-point-average and conflicts with administrators.
But he added to the paper that politics aren't a factor in National Honor Society selection.
"I can confirm that political affiliation is not a consideration for National Honor Society acceptance and that no student would be denied admittance to NHS based on his/her political speech or political party affiliation," McGarry told the Press.
What else did Boris say?
The paper said Boris didn't return its requests for comment — but that he did post a message to classmates on Twitter: "[T]o all my fellow students who have been discriminated against for their politics, you are not alone. Never forget that. It's time to say enough is enough."