A New Jersey high school student was kicked out of his virtual high school class because he refused to take down a banner in the background showing his support for President Donald Trump. The student claims that he was asked by two teachers to pull down the banner but he refused to do so, when one of the teachers 'clicked' him out of the class.
Anthony Ribeiro, 17, said his chemistry teacher asked him to leave the virtual class on October 8 after he refused to remove the sign, which read 'Trump 2020 - Keep America Great.' Ribeiro is an avid Trump supporter and his refusal angered both the teachers although he isn't sure about their political orientation.
Class Becomes Political Forum
Ribeiro, a junior at Toms River High School North, said that his chemistry teacher Andrew Gilman gave him the the ultimatum during a remote session after spotting the "Trump 2020, Keep America Great" sign over his shoulder. The teacher reportedly said that he should either take down the banner or simply leave the class.
The next day, the honor roll student said his English teacher, Leslie Maryon-Larose, requested that he take down the banner, saying it could 'offend' other students. That time Ribeiro complied although he was uneasy about doing it.
However, Ribeiro is more annoyed with his chemistry teacher. "I was the only person in class initially," Ribeiro said. "He looked up but didn't say anything. Then when he was taking attendance, he came to my name and there were at least 16 to 20 people on and he said, 'Anthony, take the sign down right now, there is no room for politics in my classroom.'"
Ribeiro ignored Gilman's demand and then shook his head in denial. Gilman then gave him an ultimatum saying, "If you're not going to get up and take it down, I'm going to have to ask you to leave the class for today." "I waved goodbye, and I was gone," said Ribeiro.
Needless to say, Ribeiro is upset. 'Looking back I kind of regret it because I have the right in my house to do what I believe. It should not happen to anyone,' said Ribeiro. District officials told Asbury Park Press that they were addressing the incident and that Ribeiro "was not in violation of any general code of conduct or any policy specifically related to virtual learning."
Ribeiro's mother, Tara Jost, also feels that her son was not wrong and somebody should tell him sorry. 'For this teacher to tell him to take it down and then kick him out of class is absurd. I think they have to make an apology to my son,' she told the outlet.
The district's virtual learning rules sent to students earlier this year mentioned nothing about political statements or signs, but did forbid them from wearing pajamas or attending class from bed. Given this, Riberio wasn't in violation of any of the rules. However, the US Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that students don't 'shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.'
That said, Ribeiro became a "big Trump guy" after getting into politics this year during the coronavirus pandemic. The news comes shortly after a Utah student was bullied and spat on for wearing a pro-Trump hat to school for in-person classes.