Middle Schooler, Sisters Booted From School Over 'Patriotism' Speech: Mom

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A middle school student who was prohibited from giving his "patriotism" school election speech and his two sisters were kicked out of a California private school, according to his mother.

Hattie Ruggles shared a Facebook post claiming her son, Jimmy Heyward, and his two sisters, Alice and Livia, were terminated from Saint Bonaventure Catholic School in Huntington Beach due to a violation of the school's code of conduct.

“Finally heard from St. Bonaventure. This morning we received an email terminating Jimmy, Alice, and Livia from the school and will not allow them to return next year,” Ruggles wrote, along with a photo of the letter sent by Rev. Vincent Pham.

Jimmy was running for "commissioner of school spirit and patriotism" and scheduled to give a speech on May 16. The student's speech featured some elements that the school deemed to be a violation of the Christian Code of Conduct.

“My love for America is my motivation for running for Commissioner of Patriotism and School Spirit. It is my honor to live in this country. Sadly, some people take their citizenship for granted, whether it is disrespecting the people who protect us or eating nachos during the national anthem at sporting events,” Jimmy wrote in his speech. “Many people recite the Pledge of Allegiance without understanding the meaning. If someone doesn’t truly know what they are pledging to the United States of America, they might as well be reciting the lyrics to ‘Shake it Off’ by Taylor Swift.”

Jimmy vowed to undertake the "crucial task" of making the school more patriotic before giving a nod to former President Donald Trump's famous campaign slogan.

“I will make the school spirit great again! I will make patriotism within SBS great again! And most importantly I will MAKE SBS GREAT AGAIN! Thank you and God Bless Saint Bonaventure Catholic School," he said.

A video shared by Ruggles showed Jimmy reciting his speech showed the student wearing a 'Make SBS Great Again' hat similar to the one commonly worn by the former president and his supporters and standing alongside his sister, who was seen holding a campaign sign that featured the line 'Make SBS Great Again' with the same color and font as Trump's.

The students' speeches needed approval from school boards and Jimmy's was denied. Ruggles admitted that some portions of her son's speech were a "little combative for a school speech" and the family spent the night revising it, claiming that "by the end of editing, it ended up sounding really good and something we were all proud of" via the New York Post. Principal Mary Flock still barred Jimmy from giving his speech unless he removed all references to patriotism, which his mother claimed she did solely because she held different views and was suppressing the 13-year-old's freedom of speech.

The school allegedly accused the family of speaking to administrators in a way "that is not in line with our expectations of respectful and courteous communication," as well as “posting disparaging remarks about the administration,” which lead to a "smear campaign" from outside groups on parish grounds. The family was also accused of creating a petition demanding Flock's removal and threatening the administration.

“These actions have negatively impacted the school community and go against the principles we strive to uphold,” the letter states. “Please understand that this decision is made in the best interest of maintaining the standards and values that are central to our school’s mission.”

Flock eventually resigned from her position, according to an email sent to the school community dated May 23.

“It is with sadness that I inform you that Principal Mary Flock will not be returning to St. Bonaventure next school year,” the email stated.

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