Catholic school accuses parents of nasty ‘smear campaign’ after son was barred from giving MAGA-inspired speech

St Bonaventure Catholic School in California (Google Maps)
St Bonaventure Catholic School in California (Google Maps)

A California Catholic school has booted a 13-year-old student after accusing his parents of starting a “smear campaign” when he was allegedly barred from giving a MAGA-inspired speech for his school election.

In a letter posted to social media by the boy’s mom, Saint Bonaventure Catholic School in Huntington Beach, California, said the family was no longer welcome after they threatened administrators and posted “disparaging” remarks about faculty online.

The mom, Hattie Ruggles, has alleged that her son was “humiliated” by his school principal Mary Flock when he was prevented from giving a MAGA-style speech as he ran for “commissioner of school spirit and patriotism” as part of the school’s elections, according to a social media post.

In the Trumpy speech, the 13-year-old talks about his “love for America” and claims “some people take their citizenship for granted” by “eating nachos during the national anthem at sporting events.”

“My love for America is my motivation for running for Commissioner of Patriotism and School Spirit. It is my honor to live in this country. Sadly, some people take their citizenship for granted, whether it is disrespecting the people who protect us or eating nachos during the national anthem at sporting events,” he allegedly wrote in the speech.

“Many people recite the Pledge of Allegiance without understanding the meaning. If someone doesn’t truly know what they are pledging to the United States of America, they might as well be reciting the lyrics to ‘Shake it Off’ by Taylor Swift.”

If elected, the boy said he would undertake the “crucial task” of making SBS more patriotic — and gave a sign-off similar to that of former President Donald Trump.

“I will make the school spirit great again! I will make patriotism within SBS great again! And most importantly I will MAKE SBS GREAT AGAIN! Thank you and God Bless Saint Bonaventure Catholic School!” the speech added.

His mother claims her son was told to remove “all parts about patriotism” from his campaign speech or he would not be allowed to deliver it before the school assembly.

“Jimmy stood up to her and said he wasn’t going to take the parts about patriotism out of his speech,” Ruggles wrote in a petition calling on Flock to be fired. “She then told him he would not be speaking. Jimmy sat on stage with all the other candidates while they said their speeches. Mary Flock directed the kids hosting the rally to skip Jimmy entirely. He was on the stage for an hour in front of his peers/teachers/parents being completely humiliated by Mary Flock.”

The school has denied Ruggles’ accusations, claiming that the boy was actually banned from giving his speech because it did not receive prior approval from school officials, as per requirements.

The termination letter allegedly sent by Saint Bonaventure Catholic School (Hattie Ruggles via Facebook)
The termination letter allegedly sent by Saint Bonaventure Catholic School (Hattie Ruggles via Facebook)

The parents insist this is not true and that their son’s final speech draft was submitted on time and viewed by the principal.

Following the disagreement, Ruggles posted the letter from the Catholic school, which accuses them of “serious violations of the Christian Code of Conduct and the Parent Electronic Communication Policy.”

“Finally heard from St. Bonaventure. This morning we received an email terminating Jimmy, Alice, and Livia from the school and will not allow them to return next year,” Ruggles alleged in a post on Facebook.

Ruggles also shared a photo of the termination letter on Facebook, in which the school said the three children were being expelled for violating the Christian Code of Conduct and the Parent Electronic Communication Policy, including “speaking to administration in a way that is not in line with our expectations for respectful and courteous communication”; “posting disparaging remarks about the administration and faculty on social media”; as well as “inviting outside community members to join in an unsanctioned gathering on parish grounds.”

The letter made no mention of the speech, and the school has disputed Ruggles’ account of events.

“St. Bonaventure Catholic School is dedicated to fostering a Catholic, Christ-centered learning environment that builds a community valuing respect and integrity. We encourage freedom of speech, recognizing that allowing students to express their thoughts and ideas is crucial for their growth and development. In line with this, our longstanding policy requires all student speeches delivered on campus to undergo an administrative approval process. This practice ensures that the content is appropriate, aligns with school values and our Christian Code of Conduct, and maintains a respectful tone. The process is applied uniformly to all students without exception,” the school said.

“If a speech does not receive final approval, we adhere to our established guidelines, which means the student will not be permitted to deliver the speech. In this recent case, school administrators felt encouraged by the words of patriotism but were discouraged by what is perceived as some negative comments and sought adjustments to make it more positive.”

According to a mass email dated May 23 sent by the school and shared by Ruggles on, Flock left her position at the school last month.

“It is with sadness that I inform you that Principal Mary Flock will not be returning to St. Bonaventure next school year,” the email read.