Trump supporting Holmdel High School junior Boris Kizenko thinks “it’s time to say enough is enough.”
“To all my fellow students who have been discriminated against for their politics, you are not alone,” the New Jersey 16-year-old posted to Twitter. “Never forget that.”
Kizenko told NJ 101.5’s Bill Spadea he’s had repeated run-ins with administrators during his tenure as class president last year, and he contends it’s now costing him recognition from the National Honor Society because of an alleged “character issue,” according to the Ashbury Park Press.
Despite far exceeding the objective criteria for membership with a 4.0 GPA and hundreds of hours of community service, the National Honor Society has rejected his application and ignored Kizenko’s attempts to appeal the decision.
Kizenko said he was reprimanded by school officials three times in the last year about political speech, seemingly minor infractions that are now having serious consequences.
While serving as class president last year, Kizenko said he posted a quote from Trump – “If You’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big” – to the class Instagram account with other inspirational phrases from public figures. Administrators took down the post and cut Kizenko off from accessing the class’ social media accounts, he said.
When Kizenko appealed the decision, he received a “conduct report,” according to the teen.
— Serena DiMaso (@Sdimaso) May 25, 2018
“They told me I was being a Monarch in the student council and they also said that doesn’t represent the ideals of the class,” Kizenko told Spadea of the school’s response to the innocuous Trump quote.
The teen also attempted to arrange a paintball fundraiser at his school, which his class advisor rejected. Kizenko contends he was later reprimanded when he broached the idea directly with the school principal.
The problems persisted, Kizenko said, during his re-election campaign for class president. Kizenko used the Trump-inspired campaign slogan “Make Holmdel Great Again,” which officials deemed propaganda.
Kizenko told Spadea he attempted to get to the bottom of the real reasons why he was rejected by the National Honor Society, and specifically requested the identities of the folks who make the decision, but school officials shut him down.
“We did go through the appeal process. We wanted to speak to the people who were in charge of making the decision, but once I started the appeal process the principal said they wouldn’t release the names of who was in charge,” Kizenko said. “They’re trying to keep it all secretive.”
Holmdel Township School District Superintendent Robert McGarry insisted to the Press that personal politics has nothing to do with selecting students for the National Honor Society, though he refused to discuss any aspect of Kizenko’s circumstance, including grade point average or conflicts with school officials.
“I can confirm that political affiliation is not a consideration for National Honor Society acceptance and that no student would be denied admittance to NHS based on his/her political speech or political party affiliation,” McGarry said.