A Florida teenager says that a school bus aide tore his “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat off of his head, and he has video footage to back him up, Yahoo News is reporting. Officials at his school have seen the footage, and they’re promising an investigation. Law enforcement is also looking into the incident as well.
Like most schools, Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City, Florida, doesn’t allow its students to wear hats. Last week the rules were bent in order to raise money for charity — students could wear hats if they brought a donation to the March of Dimes.
14-year-old Gunnar Johansson decided that he would take the opportunity to wear his favorite hat, his red-and-white “Make America Great Again” hat, which has become something of a symbol of the Trump administration. He tells WPTV (West Palm Beach) that he chose that hat because he wanted “to show my pride in Trump America.”
However, on the bus to school that morning, a school bus aide, who has not been identified, took exception to him wearing the hat.
“Boy, if you don’t that that hat off this bus… take it off. Take that hat off… take that hat off…”
A surveillance video shows the bus driver interacting with Gunnar Johansson, 14, telling him to remove his hat, which read “Trump: Make America Great Again.”https://t.co/pD5mUsK09a— Florida Times-Union (@jaxdotcom) March 8, 2019
Gunnar says he was at first confused, not understanding why the aide was so adamant about him taking his hat off. She then began threatening him.
“She threatened me with a referral and threatened to turn the bus around. I said, ‘Write me up, I didn’t do anything wrong.'”
Then, he says, the aide yanked his hat off the top of his head.
You may be thinking at this point that the aide was simply trying to enforce rules that she didn’t know were being bent for the day, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, say Gunnar and his mom, Jackie Putt. Both say that other students on the bus were allowed to keep wearing their own hats.
You may also be under the impression that Gunnar was violating school policy by wearing politically-themed clothing (something which is, in fact, a policy at many schools in the U.S.), but Putt says that there is no such policy at the school. She says that the entire incident was simply “politically-motivated.”
Meanwhile, the school district is promising its own investigation into the bus aide’s actions that day. Putt, for her part, says she wants not just her son’s school to investigate, but she wants criminal charges if they’re warranted, saying her son appears to have been the victim of an assault. And Martin County Lieutenant Ryan Grimsdale says that he will, in fact, be reviewing surveillance-camera footage from the incident and interviewing everyone involved.