The ideological clash over the limits of political speech that has been roiling college campuses across Connecticut is spilling over to a local high school, where the state GOP Chairman J.R. Romano alleged that a group of young conservatives has been subjected to character attacks by “hardcore leftist” teachers.
The controversy begins with the West Haven High School chapter of Turning Point USA.
Connecticut GOP Chairman Romano met with the activists last week at the high school after the students were barred by faculty members from posting signage, saying “Socialism Sucks!” and “Big Gov Sucks!”.
These faculty members also took offense to signs that read “America is the greatest country in the world.”
While these signs are an exercise of the freedom of speech, Chairman Romano knew it was time to make a visit.
This week, I meet students from #WestHavenCT High school that have faced attacks on their personal character not from fellow #students, but a few hardcore leftist teachers. I’m proud to stand with them and fight for their #freespeech. #1A #CTPolitics #Connecticut pic.twitter.com/5jGVcIgCu9
— J.R. Romano (@CTGOPChair) May 22, 2019
“When high schoolers are stopped from hanging a sign that says ‘America is the best country in the world,’ I think we have a bigger problem that needs to be addressed,” Romano told The Courant. “If these kids want to stand up and say this is a great country, I stand shoulder to shoulder with them every day of the week.”
Romano’s visit to the school set off a hostile Twitter exchange with Trisha Brookhart, a liberal education board member who is not from West Haven.
“Absolutely pathetic to attack teachers for standing up to these racist, sexist, bullies who are brainwashed by their Republican parents,” Brookhart tweeted in response to the Chairman’s post with the Turning Point USA student activists.
Brookhart later removed her tweet and claimed that she was simply defending teachers in public schools who face too much discrimination from the right.
She also claimed, “The Chairman of the Republican Party had no right to enter the public school.”
Romano said the student group plans to discuss the matter with the local school board and that he’s been helping them with their arguments. He characterized Brookhart’s tweet as “over-the-top” and “disturbing.”
Each day, facilitators of education work against students with different viewpoints that have no destructive agenda other than to be heard.