- The Washington Times - Friday, November 17, 2017

A Georgia county commissioner and her school board member husband are crying foul after their seventh-grade son was ordered to change out of his “FNN - Fake News Network” T-shirt before going on a school field trip to CNN’s Atlanta headquarters.

Jaxon Jester, a student at Peachtree Charter Middle School who is the son of DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester and DeKalb County Schools board member Stan Jester, reportedly complied with his teacher’s request to change out of the shirt before touring the CNN studios, but his parents say his First Amendment rights were violated.

“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,” the boy’s father wrote in a blog post. “As an advocate for the First Amendment, I agreed to his request. He picked out the shirt he wanted and 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.

“We received a phone call from the principal at the middle school this morning informing us that he was forced to change his shirt,” he wrote. “I’m disappointed by the hypocrisy of this decision.”

Mr. Jester called the school’s decision hypocritical because DeKalb Schools officials had just reaffirmed their commitment to free speech after a local high school softball team took a knee during the national anthem.

Mrs. Jester wrote in the comments section that the principal and the teacher involved later apologized.

“The teacher involved said that she told Jax to change his shirt because she thought his shirt said ‘F-CNN,’” she wrote. “I told her that it absolutely did NOT say that. She apologized and said that she now realizes that the shirt has no profanity or suggestion of profanity on it. The principal stated that he should have been made aware of the situation before Jax was made to change his shirt. He apologized for the incident. We discussed how the shirt could have provided valuable learning opportunities if Jax and his fellow students could have explored how we get news and how we process it. The teacher agreed.”

Mrs. Jester said her son felt like he was called out in front of the class and was “very upset” about the incident. She said no one apologized personally to Jaxon.

DeKalb County Schools issued a statement saying the student was asked to change his shirt out of concern for his own safety, a local CBS affiliate reported.

“The request was out of concern for the student’s safety in accordance with the district’s Student Code of Conduct, which states … the wearing of clothing, tattoos or other adornments which show offensive and/or vulgar words, pictures, diagrams, drawings or includes words or phrases of a violent nature, a disruptive nature, a sexual nature, politically/socially controversial words or graphics or words or phrases that are derogatory regarding a person’s ethnic background, color, race, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation or disability is prohibited,” the statement said. “The parent of the student was contacted by the principal and informed that the student was being asked to change his shirt. The student complied with the request made by the teacher. The safety of all DCSD students and staff is paramount.”

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