Anti-Trump painting causes tension at Roanoke Rapids High School
Posted December 19, 2016
Updated December 20, 2016
Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — A student's attempt to express her thoughts about the presidential election has caused controversy at Roanoke Rapids High School.
A female student's paining of President-elect Donald Trump with horns, x's for eyes and a reference to the KKK is not sitting well with some parents at the school.
"It's all over social media, pictures of it are everywhere," a senior at the school said.
The senior said students at the school are also talking about it.
"They have the right to express their own opinions, but other people have different opinions," the student said. "It might create controversy within the school and it's not the best time to create controversy for no reason."
Hope Elias, another student at Roanoke Rapids, said every student has a right to express themselves. "I feel like even though we're in school, it's still protected under the First Amendment, so freedom of speech. I feel like it's the student's right to voice their opinions."
The piece of artwork was only on display at the school for the duration of an art show.
School officials said there was not a problem until a photo of the painting, along with the other artwork, was posted on Facebook.
"We respect the rights of all of our students to have their opinions, to be creative. That's pretty clearly stated in the First Amendment," said Dr. Dain Butler, superintendent of the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District.
But Butler said there was growing tension online.
"Due to the accusational comments on Facebook, due to the divide on Facebook, we felt like it could spill over into some disruption at our school, so the decision was made to pull that post," he said.
Students said Monday that there had not been any problems at school, and that their parents seemed to be more concerned about the issues than they were.