Long Island mother Valerie Moscato claims her daughter, 11-year-old Bella Moscato, was not allowed to select President Donald Trump as her "hero" for a school project in her sixth-grade class.
What are the details?
According to News 12 Long Island, Trump has been Bella's "hero" since she was just 8 years old. She even dressed up as the 45th president in third-grade. So when she had to select a "hero" for a recent school project, it was a no-brainer who Bella would choose.
"Donald Trump is my hero," she told News 12.
Unfortunately, Bella's teacher immediately shut down the idea, claiming Trump "spreads negativity and says bad stuff about women." To make matters worse, Bella's teacher allegedly chided the idea in front of Bella's classmates.
While the teacher said Trump was not an acceptable "hero," Bella told News 12 her teacher specifically stated that former President Barack Obama would be acceptable.
"That's what got me angry — I didn't like that," she said.
What are Bella's parents saying?
Bella's mother and father — Valerie and Arthur Moscato — rebuked the teacher's decision during the last school board meeting. They claim the teacher's actions amount to "intimidation and censorship."
"My daughter's hero is the president of our country. I can't believe anybody at the school would tell my daughter that that guy can't be her hero," Arthur said at the board meeting. "I'm incensed by this."
Meanwhile, Valerie said the teacher violated her daughter's First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
"My daughter has every right to do and pick a hero of her choice. It's a First Amendment right, freedom of speech, freedom of expression," Valerie told News 12. "So it was really upsetting to me that [the teacher] was trying to shut her down."
What did school officials say?
In a statement, Sachem Central School District superintendent Dr. Kenneth Graham unequivocally denied the allegations.
"It is not accurate that this student was told that they were not allowed to conduct research or report on any individual for a school assignment, including President Trump. To the best of our knowledge, by choice the student is still conducting their project of President Trump," he said.
The Moscato's said Graham's public denial only make matters worse.
"No one should make a child feel that way, and you're supposed to protect my child," Arthur said at the school board meeting.