A school district in North Carolina has replaced its high school principal after she asked a student to remove his jersey, which read “Trump 45” on the back, at a football game.
The district announced changes in leadership on Friday, with a news release stating that the principal of Harnett Primary, Catherine Jones, will be replacing Harnett Central High School’s principal, Cindy Gordon.
Gordon came under scrutiny for disciplining student Matthew Collins, 18, for wearing a Trump jersey to a football game where students were encouraged to wear patriotic clothing, according to local Raleigh, N.C., news station WTVD.
Collins’s father, Mike, told WTVD that the then-principal asked his son to remove the jersey, which was a gift from a family friend. The 18-year-old immediately felt “humiliated” and went home from the game.
“We don’t want any kids violated. We don’t want to see kids embarrassed over something like this,” Mike Collins said. “[Matthew] was not disrespectful. He was not acting in a manner that would cause attention to him.”
Mike Collins did not intend to pursue legal action, because the school had made a promise to make the situation right, according to initial reports. The district’s leadership changes seem to be doing just that.
“After completing its review of an event that took place at the football game at Harnett Central High School on Friday, October 5, the school district is announcing several personnel changes,” the district’s news release read. “Again, we want to emphasize that Harnett County Schools supports and affirms students’ rights to express themselves—including wearing clothing expressing political messages or supporting political candidates or officeholders—in ways that are not expected to disrupt school or school events.”
Mike ultimately defended his son’s decision to wear the jersey, saying, “We’re not promoting Donald Trump. He’s our president. Again you’ve got to respect your president.”
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