Ciretta Mackenzie is a New Hampshire teen who says she was told to cover up her pro-Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” t-shirt on her school’s “patriotic day.”
Mackenzie, a 14-year-old freshman at Epping High School, told Boston 25 that her principal told her that her “Make America Great Again” hat and shirt, which she wore for the school’s “American pride day,” violated the school’s dress code.
“It’s just a shirt, and it only says Trump make America great again, it doesn’t say anything like build a wall, so I don’t get how it could be offensive, how it could be disrespectful,” she told the outlet.
Mackenzie said she took off the hat and covered up her shirt with a friend’s sweatshirt but says she believes her First Amendment rights were violated.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ciretta Mackenzie: My Principal Said ‘MAGA’ Clothing Violated Dress Code
Mackenzie told Boston 25 that she wore a pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” hat and t-shirt for Epping High School’s “American pride day.”
Her principal, she said, told her that the hat and t-shirt violated the school’s dress code.
Mackenzie says there is not anything related to political clothing in the student dress code.
“It’s just a shirt, and it only says Trump make America great again, it doesn’t say anything like build a wall, so I don’t get how it could be offensive, how it could be disrespectful,” she said.
2. Mackenzie Says Her First Amendment Rights Were Violated
Mackenzie removed her hat and covered up her shirt but says she believes the school violated her First Amendment rights.
“If it said no political gear, I could understand why it was dress coded but it didn’t say that, so I feel like I’m obligated to have my own opinion and other people can have theirs,” she said. “We don’t have to agree, that’s fine.”
Her father told the outlet that he believes political opinions should be discussed openly in schools.
“We don’t want politics to be totally removed from school, it needs to be in school…the way they went about it was remove everything, you don’t want that,” he said.
3. Mackenzie Says Other Kids Are Bullying Her Over Trump Support
Mackenzie said that she was “ashamed” she had to cover up and said her classmates have made disparaging comments since the incident.
“Some kids are making [me] feel like I’m uneducated and a bad kid for believing what I want to believe and that’s not right,” she said.
Ciretta told the New Hampshire Union Leader that she would have felt better if the principal warned other students against harassing her instead of making her cover up.
“I don’t think I should have been told to cover it up,” she said.
4. Mackenzie’s School is Investigating The Incident
Epping High School Superintendent Valerie McKenny told Boston 25 that the school is investigating the incident.
Epping said that two students were asked to change their clothes during the school’s “American pride day.”
Mackenzie’s family planned to meet with the school’s principal Friday to discuss the incident.
5. California Teen Says She Was Banned From Wearing MAGA Hat
The incident in Epping comes just over a month after a California high school senior was banned from wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.
Maddie Mueller, who attends Clovis North High School in Fresno, told KPGE that school officials barred her from wearing the hat and said it violated her First Amendment rights.
“How does being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country, how is that inappropriate?” Mueller told KGPE. “To my knowledge (President Donald) Trump is not a logo it’s a last name, it’s just our president. You can’t claim the president is a logo, sports team or affiliated with any gang.”
“I don’t care if I offend anybody, I’m just showing support for the President and what I believe,” she added.
Kelly Avants, A spokeswoman for the Clovis Unified School District, told the outlet the school banned the hat as a matter of safety.
“Bottom line for us is the dress code is for kids to feel safe at school and free of distractions so they can focus on learning,” Avants said. “Here we are closer to shouting fire in a crowded theater.”