A Harnett County high school principal has been replaced, a week after she asked a high school student to remove a jersey that bore President Donald Trump’s name on the back.
The Harnett school system on Friday announced a new principal for Harnett Central High School. The district said the change is directly related to the actions taken by former Harnett Central Principal Cindy Gordon last week in asking the student not to wear the Trump shirt.
The district announced leadership changes at several of its schools, including Harnett Central, on Friday afternoon. The changes are “effective immediately,” according to the district news release.
The high school had encouraged students to dress with a patriotic theme for the football game on Oct. 5, ABC11 reported.
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Harnett Central parent Mike Collins told the news station that the high school’s principal asked his 18-year-old son to remove the jersey because it was “too political” for some at the football game. The red, white and blue jersey featured “USA” and the Statue of Liberty’s torch on the front, with “Trump” and the number 45 on the back.
Catherine Jones, the current principal at Harnett Primary School, will be the new principal at Harnett Central High. Calvetta Dunkins, an assistant principal at Dunn Middle School, will be the interim principal at Harnett Primary.
The news release did not mention Gordon’s name nor say whether she is now employed by the school system.
“Again, we want to emphasize that Harnett County Schools supports and affirms students’ rights to express themselves — including wearing clothing expressing political messages or supporting political candidates or officeholders — in ways that are not expected to disrupt school or school events,” the district news release said.
Tony Buzzard, an attorney representing the Collins family, told The News & Observer, “We’re very pleased that the school board and the county were quick to resolve the issue.”
Buzzard said the family wanted the board to recognize what had happened.
Asked whether the family might consider any further action, Buzzard said he’s not sure. But he said Friday’s announcement will influence their decisions moving forward.