TikTok Targets ‘Liberal’ HHS
On Tuesday, September 27th, a representative from Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a conservative nonprofit organization, set up a booth on the front sidewalk outside of Hanover High School. According to an email from the school administration, TPUSA had also attempted to set up a table inside of the school, although they were then informed that the only booths allowed in the school are “those that are student-initiated or or related to post-secondary opportunities.” The email also stated that the administration had alerted the Hanover Police Department.
The TPUSA rep, later revealed to be a woman named Esther Porphirio, posted a TikTok about her experience visiting the school which has nearly 50,000 likes. In the video, she asserts that Hanover High School is “the most liberal high school in all of New Hampshire,” and that the “students are being indoctrinated … and brain- washed.”
She also claimed to have been “harassed” by a “Karen”, whom she identifies as Deb Nelson, who is a member of the Dresden School Board. Ms. Nelson later said it was a civil discussion. Ms. Porphirio also stated that the “response from the students was outrageous.” She cited one particular instance where two students shouted an expletive at her and then handed her acorns, telling her she looked like a squirrel.
After attending a Dresden School Board meeting at the high school that evening, Ms. Porphirio expressed that she was “heartbroken” by signs she saw in the school. These included social-emotional learning check-in posters, Black Lives Matter signs, and gay pride flags.
Ms. Porphirio also expressed concerns about the posters for the Feminism Club’s Tampon Trade, an event in which students can trade feminine products for baked goods, because of the “13 year old boys coming into high school being exposed to [the signs and event].”
In the video, Ms. Porphirio asserts that “students are receiving an unfair representation of different kinds of values in our society,” and that they are “only being taught one side of the spectrum”. At the end of the TikTok, Ms. Porphirio concluded that it is “time for conservatives to rise up, find our voice, and to fight back.”
One month later, on Tuesday October 25th, Ms. Porphirio returned. She set up another booth in the same spot. Ms. Porphirio was later asked to leave because she did not have a permit for her booth.
While Ms. Porphirio’s booth was widely mocked within the school community, her statements about Hanover being an extremely liberal town are objectively true. As another election cycle passes, her TikTok may also serve as a prompt for members of the school community to reflect on their beliefs and to try to seek out more opportunities to engage in civil discourse with people of different political leanings.