Protesters call for teacher's firing over ‘Make America Great' t-shirt flap
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - A group of protesters led by a candidate for Governor stood outside of a Cherokee County high school Wednesday, demanding the firing of a teacher who ordered students wearing “Make America Great” t-shirts to turn them inside out.
The group led by State Senator Michael Williams of Cumming chanted “USA, USA, USA!” and held signs demanding the firing of the River Ridge High School math teacher.
A video from the classroom went viral showing math teacher Lyn Orletsky telling the two students wearing the t-shirts to turn them inside out during her class.
Earlier in September, Orletsky told FOX 5 News she wasn’t making a political statement about t-shirts but claimed the slogan had been adopted by certain Neo-Nazi groups at a violent protest in Virginia.
Protestor Joe Webb said, "She was wrong if she said this represented being a neo-Nazi because this does not represent being a neo-Nazi, a racist, or a bigot. This represents our freedom to get out and express we are Americans and we gotta stand up for our first amendment rights."
Senator Williams, who is running for the Republican nomination for Governor in next year’s election, organized the demonstration in support of the students called out in class.
Senator Williams said, "They were bullied by the teacher they had their first amendment rights taken from them and we are here to protest that and make sure the teacher gets fired."
But not everyone agreed with the protestors. Parent Molly Ball got in a heated confrontation with the pro-Trump supporters.
Ball yelled: “You are the only one yelling and cursing in front of the school. You are yelling obscenities in front of a school."
Ball told FOX 5’s Deidra Dukes, "It has nothing to do with Trump. It has nothing to do with any of it. Keep the kids out of it."
The school had a heavy police presence on campus for the protest.
Law enforcement officers set up checkpoints, stopping all vehicles driving onto school grounds.
In a statement sent to parents, the Cherokee County School district thanked them for their patience with what they called their “successful additional security measures in preparation for the protest held today by Sen. Williams.”
According to the statement, “None of us knows what could have happened today had we not made clear our plans to maintain a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff. We’ve all seen how protests advertised as peaceful have gotten out of control, and we are unwilling to take such a risk with our students’ and our employees’ safety.”
Several passing motorists honked in a show of support for the demonstrators. But one man was among a handful of drivers who lashed out at the group.
The counter protestor said," The county told y'all to go somewhere else to protest but you chose to stay here and protest here lol at all the cops back there their here ‘cuz they're scared of y’all."
According to the district statement, “We do not agree with the teacher’s actions, and we support our students’ Constitutional right to express political opinions. The Superintendent has authorized an administrative investigation, which is ongoing. We don’t rush administrative investigations or violate employees’ due process and lead taxpayers into costly litigation in order to please a politician or special interest group.”
The school district removed the teacher from the classroom earlier in September. The county school board has not made a final decision on her future.
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