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7th Grader Punished for Exercising Free Speech on School Field Trip to CNN

A Georgian 7th grader’s right to free speech was shut down by his school when visiting the CNN center in Atlanta.

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By Jason Patterson | GEORGIA

In Dekalb County, Georgia a 7th grader named Jaxon Jester was stripped of First Amendment right and was forced to remove his “fake news” shirt on a field trip to CNN. His parents are both elected county officials. His mom is a county commissioner and his dad is on the school board.

Over the last year, Trump and other politicians have constantly bashed CNN for being fake news. After this experience the trump supporting family found it outrageous that students could sit down for the anthem but their son could not wear a piece of clothing, spreading his personal beliefs.

Stan Jester stood up against these acts, writing on his blog:

Back in October, the girls at Cedar Grove High School in the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) took a knee before their playoff game. In a statement issued by DeKalb Schools, ‘If students should elect to express their free speech rights, we want to create and provide a safe space to do so. The goal is not to interfere with the students’ constitutional right to freedom of speech./”

I advocate for the First Amendment across the board. I hope the freedom of students to express themselves will be vigilantly defended across the political, religious, etc … spectrums.

CNN is a popular destination for school field trips across the state. Every year the 7th grade at Peachtree Charter Middle School tours the CNN studios.

This year when the CNN tour was announced, my 7th-grade son Jaxon asked me if he could purchase an FNN-Fake News Network shirt to wear for his field trip. As an advocate for the First Amendment, I agreed to his request. He picked out the shirt he wanted and ordered it from Amazon. His mother cautioned him that he might cause a controversy and needed to be prepared for that. He was fully aware of the implications of his decision and made the affirmative choice to wear his shirt.

Nancy took his picture this morning as he left for school. We received a phone call from the principal at the middle school this morning informing us that he was forced to change his shirt.

I’m disappointed by the hypocrisy of this decision. Some students are celebrated when they make a controversial display during the National Anthem. My student was forced to remove his shirt because someone didn’t like it. I defend speech and expression, even if I disagree, or it makes me uncomfortable.

This shows that the Dekalb school system is only allowing free speech, for some.

 

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