Officials Investigate New Hampshire District that Marked Unvaccinated Prom Students

Nails freshly manicured Hannah Shraim, 17, wears a wrist corsage as she meets her friends before they left to attend their senior prom, in Germantown, Md., Friday, May 13, 2016. Senior class president and an observant Muslim, Shraim prays five times a day and hopes to become an advocate for …
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

State officials in New Hampshire are investigating numerous concerns from parents about the Exeter-area school district in which unvaccinated students who attended the high school prom were marked with a pen.

The New Hampshire Department of Education and the state attorney general’s office are investigating a series of complaints after two “heated” board of education meetings this week, WMUR9 News reported.

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said the types of concerns coming out of the Exeter-area school district are more than any other district the department is encountering at this time.

“Because of the nature of the complaints we have received about Exeter, as well as the volume of the complaints, we are looking into those in conjunction with the attorney general’s office,” Edelblut said.

As Breitbart News reported last week, unvaccinated students attending the district’s high school prom were “numbered” with a sharpie pen and then tracked throughout the evening, a state representative and a parental rights advocate both reported.

New Hampshire Rep. Melissa Litchfield (R) posted to Facebook that an angry parent informed her that unvaccinated students were marked with a pen and told they must “raise their hands after every three songs so their numbers could be recorded by other underclass students for contact tracing purposes.”

“One thing we can state is that everybody did this with the best intentions to provide an event at the end of the year that was really trying for kids in hindsight,” SAU (School Administration Unit) 16 Superintendent David Ryan said, according to WMUR9 News. “Everyone we’ve talked to has said the same thing. That was really not a good look at all. That is something we’re going to reconsider, and we’re never going to do that again.”

Following the prom incident, Seacoastonline reported a student at the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham, in the same school district, had been “singled out” by his teacher for wearing a pro-law enforcement Thin Blue Line flag.

The superintendent confirmed the middle school students had been encouraged to wear flags “as a symbol of something they’re proud of” during the month of June as the school was “celebrating different narratives and identities.”

According to Seacoastonline, Ryan would not comment, however, on why the student’s teacher found the pro-police flag objectionable and how the teacher handled the situation.

Ryan said the family of the student is now represented by an attorney, that he is resolving the issue of the flag with the attorney and the family, and that he will provide a report once the prom issue is investigated.

The district has also been dealing with the fallout from comments made by an incoming principal, Tonja Neve, who was discovered to have referred to parents opposing Critical Race Theory as “whackos” in an email to a colleague from her previous position.

A petition asserting a loss of “confidence” in Ryan and members of the school board has now been signed by 541 people at ipetitions. The petition mentions the recent controversial incidents in the district.

In the petition, the parents and residents also address their concerns that SAU 16’s schools were closed during the pandemic “when schools around New Hampshire and the country were open serving their community,” and their assertion that parents should decide if their children wear masks at school.

Additionally, the parents seek an end to “in-school mental health assessments or treatments” and demand “NO indoctrination of any political bias.”

“We may not agree on every point, but we are concerned enough to sign this petition so that there is a change in direction,” the petition states. “The current direction has caused us to lose confidence in the leadership.”


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