FESTUS, Mo. – A Missouri high-schooler was suspended after he held up a Trump sign at a school pep assembly and reportedly refused to put it away when confronted by school officials.
Festus superintendent Link Luttrell told KMOX the unnamed student was suspended for three days because his sign at a Festus High School pep assembly on Friday was “potentially disruptive” and he repeatedly refused to put it away.
Luttrell insisted the decision had nothing to do with the student’s support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and said the punishment was doled out because the student willfully disobeyed school officials.
“If there are items that are really unnecessary, they’re going to be asked that those be put away,” Luttrell told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The superintendent also stressed that school officials did not violate the student’s right to free speech by forcing him to do away with the sign.
A picture of the student posted to Facebook by Desi Patterson-Conway shows the young man wearing a cap and hold holding a sign above his head with “Trump” scrawled on it. He’s smiling, and in a gym full of students moving about.
KMOX reports about 600 students attended the assembly.
Several folks who commented about the Facebook picture mocked school officials.
“Maybe because he has a hat on – dress code violations – and he smiling so this isn’t about freedom of speech here clearly,” Michele Ballard-Sears wrote.
“OMG I see a violation – he’s wearing boots on the basketball court,” Nugget Clinton added.
Others think school officials overstepped.
“I am NOT a trump supporter by any means,” Joe Cook wrote. “But I think the kid should be allowed to express his political views.”
“This is part of the indoctrination of our children. Just because some teacher does not agree with this student’s choice of signs, does not make said sign disruptive,” Doris Borgelt wrote in the Post-Dispatch comments. “It was a pep rally, surely there are plenty of cell phone videos showing nothing out of the ordinary for a pep rally.”