7th grader Jaxon Jester was excited about his school’s upcoming field trip to Atlanta’s CNN headquarters. But he was eagerly anticipating it for a different reason than his instructors realized.
According to a blog post written by Jaxon’s dad, Stan, his son asked him “if he could purchase an FNN-Fake News Network shirt to wear for his field trip.”
The FNN-Fake News Network shirt mimics CNN’s logo and font, and it calls out the mainstream media outlet’s well-documented bias against President Trump. CNN and MSNBC, along with other media sources that claim to be objective, have been heavily criticized over the past couple years by conservatives who say they are not balanced in their news coverage.
“As an advocate for the First Amendment, I agreed to his request,” Stan wrote, indicating that wearing the shirt for a CNN tour was entirely his son’s idea.
But according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a teacher made the boy change his shirt before the start of the trip. The school also called Jaxon’s parents to inform him of the incident.
In his blog, Stan argued that Jaxon’s right to free speech was suppressed while other students at the school have had theirs protected. He pointed to an incident last month at the area high school where members of a girls sports team took a knee in protest at a game.
At the time, the district sent out a statement to all its schools — including Jaxon’s — that “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.”
“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,” Stan pointed out.
Jaxon’s mother Nancy says the school claimed the removal of her son’s shirt was just a misunderstanding, saying, “After the class was back from the field trip, the principal and the teacher involved called me. The teacher involved said that she told Jax to change his shirt because she thought his shirt said ‘F-CNN.’ 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.”
She continued, “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.”
But she added, “Once home, Jax described the situation a little differently. He stated that after he boarded the bus for the trip, the teacher came onto his bus and called his name to come forward. He did so. He felt that he was spoken to in a harsh tone and told he must change. He was respectful and complied. He was very upset but kept that to himself.”
The story of the shirt incident has gone viral, and many conservatives have weighed in, calling for Jaxon to be praised, not punished.
Conservative media analyst Mark Dice said to Jaxson in a video message, “Keep up the great work, bro! President Trump needs to send this kid an invitation to come to the White House and show him a real field trip.”
GOP commentator Katica made a similar call on Twitter, and others posted their support of the student.
Trump himself recently slammed CNN as fake news during his Asia trip:
What do you think about all of this? In other news, America's most famous female beach volleyball player has announced that she's just given birth to twins.