CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - A battle over free speech has sparked after a teacher kicked two students out of class for wearing "Make America Great Again" t-shirts.
Channel 2's Matt Johnson was at River Ridge High School Wednesday afternoon where protestors gathered to oppose the school.
Turning Point, a nonprofit conservative group, obtained cellphone video and shared it with Channel 2 Action News.
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The video shows math teacher Lyn Orletsky telling students they need to turn their “Make America Great Again” T-shirts inside-out.
"They were bullied by the teacher," State Senator Michael Williams said. "They had their first amendment right taken from them, and we're here to protest that and make sure the teacher gets fired. For too long our schools have been used to brainwash and manipulate kids into believing things."
The crowd of several dozen protestors said they wanted to send a message. Williams said he wants the teacher fired because of the incident.
"There's been plenty of time to look at the videos, talk to parents and make a decision," he said.
Parent Molly Ball said the protest was disruptive and an overreaction.
"I don't think she should be fired, I think we're in a heated situation in 2017," Ball said.
But when Cherokee County School Police guarded entrances and stopped cars for questioning, Williams said it's not him who overreacted.
“I think the school board, some of the emails they sent out, escalated this to make it a bigger issue than if they had just let us do the protest,” he said.
Cherokee County School Police said they made sure the protest never reached school property but some students missed class to be a part of the demonstration.
"It needs to set an example that it's not ok to threaten students based on their political beliefs, or any beliefs," Williams said.
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