Wednesday, 12 June 2024.

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US Catholic school bars middle schooler, family over patriotic speech

A United States Catholic School, St. Bonaventure School, has barred Jimmy Heyward, a middle schooler and his family from the school over his patriotic speech while running for the Commissioner of School Spirit and Patriotism.

Jimmy who wasn’t allowed to give his speech at school because it was too patriotic, has just been notified that he and his sisters will not be allowed back to the school next year.

According to a letter addressed to Mr & Mrs Heyward, Jimmy’s parent on 11th June 2024, by Saint Bonaventure Catholic Parish, Jimmy and his family’s enrolment has been terminated from St. Bonaventure School.

“This letter is to inform you of a decision regarding your family’s association with St. Bonaventure School. After careful consideration and thorough review of recent events, and with the support of the Diocese, the decision has been made to terminate your family’s enrollment from St. Bonaventure School for next school year.

“This decision comes as a result of serious violations of the Christian Code of Conduct and the Parent Electronic Communication Policy, as outlined in our Parent Student Handbook and included below. These policies are in place to ensure a safe, respectful, and supportive environment for all members of our school community, and adherence to them is crucial for the welfare and integrity of our educational environment,” the letter read.

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In May 2024, Libs of TikTok reported that Jimmy’s principal allegedly made him change his speech and remove all mention of patriotism.

“When he refused, she reportedly didn’t allow him to give the speech and he was forced to sit there humiliated, and watch the other contenders give their speeches,” the report said.

Jimmy’s mother later released a statement after sharing a video asking people to watch and share her son’s speech which he wasn’t able to give.

“Jimmy decided to run for Commissioner of School Spirit and Patriotism at his school this year.

Jimmy designed and printed a banner that was hung up at school, along with hats embroidered with his slogan, all using his own money. He submitted his speech on time to the school to be reviewed before the big day, today! The Principal, Mary Flock, told Jimmy yesterday he needed to make changes to his speech. She wanted everything in his speech regarding patriotism to be removed, even though “Patriotism” was a part of the position’s title that he was running for.

“We went over his speech last night and he revised some things. When he shared his final draft with us we were very proud of what he had curated. However, this morning at school, while he and the other candidates were lining up to say their speeches, Ms Flock said that if he did not remove ALL parts about patriotism, he would not be able to read his speech to the rest of the candidates.

“Jimmy stood up to her and said he wasn’t going to take the parts about patriotism out of his speech. She then told him he would not be speaking. Jimmy sat on stage with all the other candidates while they said their speeches.

“Mary Flock directed the kids hosting the rally to skip Jimmy entirely. He was on the stage for an hour in front of his peers/teachers/parents being completely humiliated by Mary Flock.

“My husband @edheyward obviously upset with her decision told her and the Vice Principal, Caleb McFarren how out of line they were for not allowing Jimmy to speak to his classmates just because his views didn’t align with theirs and that Jimmy’s FREEDOM OF SPEECH was being taken from him.

“My husband didn’t raise his voice, didn’t use profanity and didn’t make any threatening remarks. Neither one of these individuals cared what they were doing to our child. They told my husband to leave or they would call someone to make him leave. He said he wouldn’t as he was there to support his son and then walked to the opposite side of the gate, away from everyone else and all students/faculty.

“The principal then proceeded to call HBPD to further humiliate Jimmy. HBPD showed up (Officer Gismondi & Officer Koehler) spoke with my husband and got the whole story about Jimmy’s speech and what had happened. They then told him he was free to stay and watch with the rest of the families in attendance. When the officers were leaving they asked Ed to let Jimmy know that they said ‘Thank you’ for the things he wrote in his speech (we thank you, Officer Gismondi and Officer Koehler for your support).

“Later in the day, Mary Flock sent an email to all parents at SBS informing them of the incident but completely lying about what truly happened earlier in the day. | share this all with you, our community, asking for your support in this matter. Not only has this lady publicly humiliated my son but she took his freedom of speech because he would not conform to what she wanted his speech to say.

“This woman has no business being in a head position at our school, or any school. If your child currently attends Saint Bonaventure, planning on attending, or you are just a community member who cares about our city and schools, please read my son’s speech and spread this to anyone that might be able to help get his story out,” Mrs Heyward, Jimmy’s mother said.

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Chris Thompson
Chris Thompson
Chris Thompson is an international writer with expertise in politics, business and public affairs.

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