New Jersey

NJ Teen Says He Was Told to Leave Online Class Over Trump Flag on Camera

The superintendent's office told News 4 the district was handling the matter internally, but said in a statement, "The student was not in violation of any general code of conduct or any policy specifically related to virtual learning"

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With many students taking online classes due to the pandemic, schools have been cracking down on what students can see on camera, including a Trump 2020 flag.

When 17-year-old Anthony Ribeiro showed up for his virtual chemistry class last week at Toms River North High School in Ocean County, New Jersey, he says had a flag in support of the president behind him. Before class started, his teacher told him to take the sign down.

"He said, 'Anthony take the sign down right now' and I looked up, seeing class hasn't started yet. I was on my phone. I looked up at him and kind of just looked back down like I didn't hear him," Riberio said. He recalled his teacher saying he would have to leave the class if he doesn't take it down.

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"I waved goodbye and I was gone," Riberio said.

He then told his mother what happened and she called the principal of the school, saying her son had the right to put up whatever banner he wanted in his own home.

"I was actually shocked. I couldn’t believe that a teacher would ask my son to take down something that was in my home," Tara Jost said.

She said the principal agreed with her and told her that the teacher was wrong.

Ribeiro says the next day in English class, the same thing happened again. The teacher asked him to take the banner down, but this time, he complied.

"She said it might offended other students and cause a distraction," Ribeiro said.

A spokesperson for the Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent’s office told News 4 the district is handling the matter internally.

"The student was not in violation of any general code of conduct or any policy specifically related to virtual learning," the statement said. "We have worked with and are continuing to work with all involved parties to resolve the issue and move forward."   

Ribeiro says he’s fighting for the rights of all students to support whichever political cause they choose.

"It's important for young people to be able to express their views it’s our first amendment right," he said.

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