17-year-old Anthony Ribeiro stated that his chemistry teacher kicked him out of virtual class on October 8 after he refused to take down the “Trump 2020 - Keep America Great” banner visible in the background.
Andrew Gilman gave Ribeiro an ultimatum, to either remove the banner or leave the class. The Toms River High School North student chose to leave, and said that he waved goodbye.
The next day, during his English class, Leslie Maryon-Larose, his teacher, asked him to take down the banner because it could “offend” other students. He complied, but still felt uneasy about his decision.
He told Asbury Park Press: “Looking back I kind of regret it because I have the right in my house to do what I believe. This should not happen to anyone.”
Tara Jost, his mother, just wants an apology.
“For this teacher to tell him to take it down and then kick him out of class is absurd. I think they have to make an apology to my son,” she said.
She stated that the school's vice principal sided with her son, and told her that the teacher was the one in the wrong.
“He was in agreement with me and said they were 100 percent wrong. He said to leave it up,” she said.
The school district declined to comment on the specifics of the incident, but stated that any decision to have Ribeiro take down the banner contravened district policy.
“The student was not in violation of any general code of conduct or any policy specifically related to virtual learning. We have worked with and are continuing to work with all involved parties to resolve the issue and move forward,” the Toms River Regional Schools district’s statement read.
Ribeiro noted the chemistry teacher’s hypocrisy, stating that he had said, “There is no room for politics in my classroom” when he ordered him to remove the banner, but had previously made political suggestions to the students.
Ribeiro said: “He made it a political subject talking about global warning and saying Democrats are the only choice you have to make for this because they look at facts and science.”
The teacher has not been reached for comment.
Ribeiro stated that he previously had no political leanings, but that he became a Trump supporter during his time at home.
“No matter if it's Trump or Biden, people have a right to express their opinion,” he stated.
Sources: America Now