SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Pro-Trump student supporters say they’ve experienced backlash after marching through Riverview High School on Wednesday morning.
The students also claim they’ve received death threats from other students.
“We’re just out there supporting our country. We didn’t tell anyone who to vote for or what to believe,” said organizer and high school senior, Jace Hay.
Hay says it’s a moment he’ll never forget, and he admits he was shocked by what happened next.
“It’s extremely sad. Just the immaturity of people in that situation, just calling us names and forcing our opinions. We didn’t even talk to them. They were calling us slurs, calling us racists,” said Hay.
Hay says a group of nearly 15 students gathered early Wednesday morning when they arrived at Riverview High School, which has a start time of 7:25 AM.
All the members of the group dressed alike as President Trump during ‘Twin Day’ during Spirit Week. They can be seen in various videos wearing red hats, suits, carrying flags and signs.
Some students, including fellow senior Brianna Davenport, say the pro-Trump march made them feel uncomfortable.
“They just came in forcing their opinions on everybody with the flags and everything. And for our staff not to act toward them, it’s just mind-blowing to me,” Davenport told 8 On Your Side Wednesday evening.
She added, “I just think this year is stressful for everybody, but I think we all have to do this together. That’s the only way we’re going to make it through.”
Hay maintains that he and his friends were not trying to offend anyone. They say they wanted to exercise their first amendment rights.
Hay explained, “If you don’t like Trump, vote for Biden. If you don’t like Biden, vote for Trump.”
The Sarasota County School District confirmed that students are allowed to wear politically-themed shirts and hats, as long as it does not incite a riot.
Hay tells 8 On Your Side his group never intended to cause problems and claims he alerted the school resource officer when a fellow student allegedly ripped up a flag. In the end, Hay says he’d like to sit down with Biden supporters for a conversation.
“I’m more than happy to come out to see them come out and support who they want to support who they want to support. I’m not going to be yelling at them or destroying their property,” Hay said.
8 On Your Side has reached out to the school resource officers who handled this incident and have not received a response.
Meanwhile, students say there is a Biden march planned on campus Friday.