A New Jersey public school teacher ordered a student to take down a flag supporting President Donald Trump that was hanging in his room — and was visible during an online class — or leave the virtual session, Jersey Shore Online reported.
What are the details?
Anthony Ribeiro, a Toms River High School North junior, got the Trump flag from his aunt last week as a birthday present, and the 17-year-old promptly hung the flag in his room, the outlet said.
Nothing was said about the flag during his first six classes Thursday, the outlet said — but there was still his final class of the day to get through: chemistry.
"I was the first in because I make sure I am on time, but he looked up at the screen, didn't say anything, and as people came in, he took attendance, and then said, 'Anthony take the flag down right now,'" Ribeiro recalled to the outlet. "My mic was muted because that is one of the requirements for meets this year and shook my head no, and he said [his] room wasn't a place for politics and that was not acceptable and 'if you aren't going to take it down, you will have to get out of this class.'"
Double standard much?
Ribeiro added to Jersey Shore Online that his teacher brought up politics during the first week of school last month.
"The school set up a system with a period of 15 minutes between every other class where you would talk about mental health and talk about what was going on in the world, and [the teacher] decided to talk about global warming for most of the days, and he would bring politics into it," he recalled to the outlet. "In learning, you need to have politics in social studies or history, but teachers have to be down the middle when it comes to being a Democrat or Republican."
Ribeiro also told the outlet his teacher "said Republicans don't believe in climate change or global warming, and Joe Biden and the Democrats are the people that will put light on what the science is to global warming. In one of his class periods [the teacher] said 'that is why they have my vote this year in the election and hopefully in the future they will have yours.' He said Republicans deny global warming is even a thing, which made it political."
He added to Jersey Shore Online that some of his fellow students found his teacher's reaction hypocritical: "A couple people texted me ... afterward and said it was crazy for him to say there was no politics in his room when he makes political remarks."
What did the student's mother have to say?
Tara Jost, Ribeiro's mother, told the outlet she didn't take kindly to her son's treatment and contacted the district superintendent and high school principal.
"This is in my own house," Jost noted to Jersey Shore Online, adding that there are no rules she's aware of regarding room decorations.
She added to the outlet that Assistant Superintendent Cara DiMeo noted the teacher's actions were improper and that the matter had been discussed with him.
"I said, 'How dare he tell my son to leave his classroom because of something I have in my home?' He's a science teacher number one; number two, we're Americans, and we all have the right in what we believe in, and he was talking politics the first week of class, which he has no right to do in telling them who to vote for," Jost told the outlet.
She also noted to Jersey Shore Online that if students wore Trump shirts to school during in-person education, they wouldn't be asked to leave.
Then it happened again
The day after Ribeiro's chemistry teacher told him to remove his Trump flag or leave his class, Ribeiro's English teacher told him the same thing, the outlet said.
He agreed to abide by the order, but Jost told Jersey Shore Online she wishes he hadn't.
More from the outlet:
Ribeiro said he was a year away from being able to vote and during the pandemic has become very active in following the news and learning more about the political world. He noted being well aware of how divided people are at the current time including division within families and friends who have differing viewpoints.
A district representative told Jersey Shore Online that officials can't comment because it's an internal matter.