EPPING — The school board has moved Thursday night’s meeting to Epping Middle School gymnasium to accommodate the large crowd that’s expected after last week’s incident in which a high school student was asked to cover up her Trump shirt that read “Make America Great Again.”
Board meetings are usually held in the town hall where they can be live-streamed and televised live on the town’s local cable access channel, but Superintendent Valerie McKenney said the decision was made to hold this meeting in the gym because there would be more seating.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the school, located at 33 Prescott Road.
McKenney said the board is planning an hourlong public forum on the April 8 incident.
Freshman Ciretta MacKenzie, 15, said she wore her T-shirt for the school’s America Day because students were encouraged to show their pride by wearing red, white and blue.
The shirt had Trump’s name and “Make America Great Again” across the front.
Ciretta said she was called to the office and told by Principal Brian Ernest that she would have to cover up the shirt. She said she was told that Trump is a controversial President and that Ernest didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.
The incident gained national attention and sparked widespread criticism of the decision.
Ernest issued an apology to the school community in the days that followed, saying that a plan was being drafted to promote civil discourse and diversity in Epping schools and that he was sorry if his “actions were misinterpreted and offended anyone.”
McKenney stressed the importance of making sure the public is heard.
At the meeting, Epping residents will speak first and each will be limited to three minutes.
“We want to have this event so we can hear what people have to say and move forward from there,” she said.
McKenney didn’t say if the board would be revising any policies in the wake of the controversy.
“I’m going to be making a statement and I think my statement will certainly clear up my position,” she said.
Because the meeting will be held at the middle school, McKenney said it won’t be shown live, but will be recorded and shown later.