Toms River student says he was told to take down Trump flag while in virtual class
The family of a Toms River North High School student is demanding an apology after the student was told to take down a Trump 2020 flag that was on display while he was in a virtual class.
“Just because I don’t follow [my teacher’s] agenda or political view, he has to suppress me, in a way, and violate my freedom of speech as an American,” says junior Anthony Ribeiro.
The 17-year-old says that he logged on to his chemistry class last week from home and the teacher asked him to remove the flag that was displayed behind him.
“He said, ‘If you’re not going to take it down, it’s unacceptable and I’m going to have to ask you to leave the class for today,’” Ribeiro says. “At that point, I waved goodbye and I was out of the class.”
Ribeiro says that it happened a second time in a different class the next day. He says that he agreed to take the flag down this time because he was worried it may affect his grades.
“If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t. It’s what I stand for,” he says.
“To me, it’s not about politics. It’s about something in our home that we had,” says Ribeiro’s mother Tara Jost. “My son was taken away from his studies for it. It’s very upsetting to me and very frustrating that a teacher would do that.”
The family says that the school district did agree with them that the teachers’ requests to take the flag down were wrong. But the family says that they want an apology that this happened.
“I had asked the assistant superintendent for an apology from the teacher and she told me that was against policy,” Jost says.
“I really just want it to not happen again because it is horrible for somebody to be suppressed and to feel negated because he or she doesn’t follow the same ideas as another person does,” Ribeiro says.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Toms River School District for comment but did not hear back.