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Episcopal school student faces disciplinary hearing after conservative social media posts

Episcopal school student faces disciplinary hearing after conservative social media posts

Callaway Chapel at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. | Wikipedia

A student at Alexandria, Virginia’s Episcopal High School will face a disciplinary hearing after making several posts sympathetic to the conservative movement on social media but the school claims the actions its taking have nothing to do with political views. 

Mackenzie, whose last name has been withheld for security reasons, a 17-year-old student at the boarding school, faces the threat of dismissal as a result of her social media posts.

Mackenzie recently took to Instagram to express her disgust that Ibram X. Kendi, a Boston University professor who referred to Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a “white colonizer,” was speaking at the school.

“Absolutely DISGUSTING that @episcopalhs let this man speak at our school. Unbelievable,” she wrote.

Her Instagram post featured a screenshot of Kendi’s description of Barrett as a “white colonizer” on Twitter. Mackenzie has also used her Instagram account to repost stories from conservative organizations such as PragerU and Turning Point USA.

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According to Jesse Binnall, Mackenzie’s attorney, the student faces disciplinary action as a result of her social media posts.

“The disciplinary committee process, of course, will be a politically motivated attack against a conservative student — one whose simple act of expression has alarmed the school in a way that illuminates its egregious bias against conservative thought — and in turn — a conservative student,” he wrote in a letter to the school.

“Of course, none of Mackenzie’s posts come close to violating school rules as outlined in the EHS Student Handbook. While it might wish to push its political narrative on students, conservative ideology and freedom of thought has not (yet) been explicitly forbidden by the school."

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The lawyer claimed that "EHS has tried to force Mackenzie out because she refuses to surrender to the school’s Newspeak type-agenda surrounding rhetoric supported by the Black Lives Matters organization — an admittedly Marxist group."

Charley Stillwell, head of school at Episcopal High School, explained in a statement to The Christian Post Thursday that he would “not provide a detailed account of the disciplinary matter, as it would be inappropriate to discuss the behavior and language of a student in such a situation.”

According to Stillwell, “the issues involved do not relate to either conservative or liberal political perspectives."

"We do not discipline students for their political positions; that would be antithetical to the values we hold closely as a community," Stillwell explained. 

“We do, however, set very clear expectations and high standards for how all of us engage with and treat one another. We have worked hard in recent years to help our students learn to hear and respect each other’s differences even as they engage in conversations on topics about which they disagree."

The head of school acknowledged that the institution is "aware and disappointed that a faculty member acted unprofessionally in an online exchange that involved the student."

"The interaction was unacceptable; we expect members of our community, most particularly the adult role models, to treat each other with respect at all times,” Stillwell explained. “The situation is more complex than has been presented, but we are limited in what we can share about personnel matters. We addressed this incident and are continuing to take it seriously.”

In an interview with CP, Binnall spoke about the status of his client.

“They still are threatening to put her through a disciplinary process," he said. "They’ve issued no apology and … they refuse to back down from their position that they can discipline her because they think her mainstream conservative social media posts should be forbidden.”

“They’ve told her about the disciplinary committee for about a week now,” he added. “While they are not explicitly disciplining her based on the Kendi post, it was shortly after she made the Kendi post that they started instigating the disciplinary proceedings.”

The lawyer said that the school won't tell his client when the proceedings will be. 

He explained that while the disciplinary proceeding was initially slated to “include faculty and students,” “they’ve decided to ignore that procedure and just have her appear directly in front of the administration.”

Binnall sees this as an attempt to “railroad her through a process because of her conservative ideology.”

In his letter to the school, Binnall also alleged that the school has failed to take action to stop “the harassment and bullying of Mackenzie by students, alumni, and even a teacher."

He says it is "harassment and bullying based on her mainstream political beliefs, her physical appearance, and even based on her previous interracial relationship.”

He requested that the school “please immediately cease all further disciplinary actions against Mackenzie, advise us of what actions you will take to hold her harassers and bullies accountable for their violations, and issue her a formal and public apology for refusing to act sooner.”

This is not the first time that Mackenzie’s social media posts have caused her to face adverse treatment from her school community. According to Binnall, troubles started for the student after she posted sympathies for the family of David Dorn, a retired African-American police captain who was shot by a rioter looting a pawn shop in June.

Binnall claimed that he will not have the opportunity to advocate on Mackenzie’s behalf at her disciplinary hearing because “they are denying her any outside advisor at the hearing,” leaving her without “the impartial advice she needs or the emotional support she deserves before being put in front of a hard-left virtual firing squad.”

He told CP that what happened to Mackenzie is part of “a problem across the country right now where woke liberals on campus are trying to silence conservative students."

“Rather than engage with people on the ideas themselves, they just want conservatives to shut up," he argued. 

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