08:28 GMT +324 October 2019
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    A child walks past a display of masks of US President Barack Obama, and presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, for sale at a shop selling Halloween items in Alhambra, California on October 21, 2016

    Tensions Flare as Teacher Bans Trump, Allows Obama for 6th Grade Essay on Heroes

    © AFP 2019 / Frederic J. BROWN
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    The scandal began when sixth grade students at a school in upstate New York were asked to pick an individual whom they looked up to and write an essay explaining why they felt the individual is heroic.

    11-year-old Samoset Middle School student Bella Moscato is at the heart of a new partisan scandal after allegedly getting banned by her teacher from choosing President Donald Trump as her hero for a school project, even though another student was allowed to write about former President Barack Obama.

    Moscato's outraged parents, Arthur and Valarie Moscato, spoke out about the incident at a school board meeting, saying their daughter had been subjected to intimidation and censorship, News 12 Long Island has reported.

    "My daughter's hero is the president of our country. I can't believe that anybody in the school would tell my daughter…that this guy can't be her hero. I'm incensed by this," Arthur Moscato said.

    "It was really upsetting to me that she was trying to shut her down," Valarie Moscato added.

    Bella told News 12 that her teacher told her that she couldn't write about Trump "because he spreads negativity and says bad stuff about women."

    "The thing I didn't get is she was okay with someone doing Barack Obama, but not okay with doing Donald Trump. That's what got me angry and I didn't like that," the girl said.

    Samoset Middle School superintendent Dr. Kenneth Graham said Moscato's version of events was "not accurate" and that students weren't actually forbidden from choosing Trump, with the girl still doing her project on Trump. The school board has promised to carry out an internal investigation, and said they would not discuss the alleged incident publicly.

    The Moscatos say they expect an apology from the teacher. That doesn't seem to be enough for some partisan armchair warriors online, however, with conservatives outraged over what they see as an act of censorship, while anti-Trumpers defended the teacher's decision.

    The news received a retweet from President Trump's son Don Jr., with former Fox news and NBC News journalist Megyn Kelly calling the story "insane." Other users suggested that teachers "should do their jobs and teach students instead of pushing their political opinion on them" and asked for the Trump-banning teacher to be fired.

    Anti-Trumpers stuck to their guns, however, insisting that this was not a free speech issue, or suggesting that there were other more important news stories out there. Some even accused the Moscatos of "bad parenting."

    Finally, a few fair-minded users attempted to take a middle road.

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    Tags:
    school project, essay, hero, claims, reaction, project, allegations, censorship, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, United States, New York State
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