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Anti-Trump banner displayed at Carroll County school administrator’s house draws criticism

An anti-Donald Trump banner that included an obscenity directed at the president and his supporters, as well as an offensive gesture, that was displayed at the house of a Carroll County Public Schools administrator drew the ire of neighbors and a state delegate.

The banner, which has since been taken down, hung off the front porch of a home in Union Bridge, according to Jan Stambaugh, who owns the rental property adjacent to the house on East Elger Street.

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Stambaugh said Kimani Jones, an assistant principal at Westminster High School, lives in the home, which was confirmed by CCPS and a property records search.

Jones declined to comment.

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Carey Gaddis, spokesperson for CCPS, said the school system was aware of the banner and was told a family member of Jones placed it there.

“It’s being handled as an administrative personnel issue,” Gaddis said, noting that she could not comment on any possible disciplinary action.

Gaddis said in an interview that employees have First Amendment rights, but they are also told “you are seen as an ambassador to CCPS” and often as a role model.

The banner, photos of which were posted on social media and also sent to elected officials and to CCPS personnel, displayed the image of an extended middle finger with the words, “[Expletive] Trump and [expletive] you too for voting for him.”

Del. Haven Shoemaker, a Republican who represents Carroll County, wrote a letter to Superintendent Steve Lockard on Thursday referring to the banner as “hate speech.”

“While all individuals have the right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, there are recognized limits to free speech, including hate speech and language apt to incite riots,” he wrote in his letter.

Shoemaker said “the individual has directed vile invective” at the 70 million people who voted for Trump including 60% of Carroll County residents. He said he is appalled as a taxpayer and called for the superintendent to take action.

The delegate said if the signage did belong to a CCPS employee, “it absolutely reflects poorly on our schools at a time when many are concerned that left-wing indoctrination runs rampant throughout our public schools.”

Stambaugh said in an email her problem with the sign has nothing to do with politics.

“My concern is that a known educator within our community would hang an offensive flag displaying a [vile] gesture and foul language from his porch railing,” she said.

Stambaugh said the street is busy and surrounded by homes, businesses, bus stops and yards where children play. She said she’s offended the banner was placed for all passersby to see.

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