A 6th-grader in Long Island, New York, chose to highlight President Trump for a class project about students’ heroes — but claims her teacher tried to talk her out of it. After going public about the situation, she’s received a letter from the commander-in-chief himself.
Bella Moscato told News 12 Long Island that her teacher at Samoset Middle School in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y. suggested she pick another hero.
“She said that I wasn’t allowed to do Donald Trump because he spreads negativity and says bad stuff about women,” the 11-year-old told News 12.
The news station showed her “What Is A Hero To You?” report, in which the middle schooler wrote, “Donald Trump has helped millions of people by creating a great economy. He is fighting every day to protect the people from thugs crossing the border.”
“She was OK with someone doing Barack Obama, but not OK with [me] doing Donald Trump?” Moscato told News 12. “That’s what got me angry.”
She’s not alone. Her dad, Arthur Moscato, told school board members in a meeting last week that he was “incensed” over the alleged incident. He and wife, Valerie Moscato, are demanding an apology and likening the situation to censorship.
“My daughter has every right to pick a hero of her choice,” mom Valerie said. “It’s her First Amendment right, freedom of speech, freedom of expression … so it was really upsetting to me that [the teacher] was trying to shut her down.”
But the school district superintendent disputes the girl’s version of events.
“It is not accurate that this student was told that they were not allowed to conduct research or report on any individual for a school assignment, including President Trump,” Sachem Central School District superintendent Dr. Kenneth Graham said in a statement. “To the best of our knowledge, by choice, the student is still conducting their project of President Trump.”
Graham’s statement prompted more anger from the Moscatos.
“My story was said to be unaccurate [sic] by you,” Arthur Moscato said during the school board meeting. “My story was not unaccurate [sic]. My daughter didn’t lie.”
Bella’s story evidently reached the White House. According to a tweet posted by her mother, the girl received a letter from Trump thanking her for her “heartfelt and longstanding support.”
My daughter Bella got the biggest surprise today in the mail!An envelope addressed to her from the White House!!!! She was so excited! Received a bunch of cool stuff and a letter from him!THANK YOU! @realDonaldTrump @DonaldJTrumpJr @raficarone_21 pic.twitter.com/Y7DDXoOjwF
— Valerie Moscato ✝️ (@valeracci) April 19, 2019
“I was honored to learn that you selected me as your hero for a school project,” the president wrote. “Your heartfelt and longstanding support means a great deal to me.
“I am proud of you for standing up for yourself. Everyone deserves to receive the same care and respect we give ourselves,” he continued. “I encourage you to always be yourself and keep making your voice heard. There is no one else like you, and our country’s bright future relies upon your leadership!”
Updated 4/23/2019: This article has been updated to include President Trump’s response to the girl.
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