Two teenagers in Pennsylvania wore their “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats to school earlier in the school year, only to find out that they’d been pixelated when the yearbook came out, Harrisburg’s WMPT-TV reports. One of the teenagers involved says his First Amendment rights were violated by the school’s apparent censorship.
Back in October, 16-year-old Jeremy Gebhart and a friend, both ardent Trump supporters, decided to show their support for Donald Trump by wearing the hats, the unofficial symbol of the Trump administration, during Littlestown High School’s Spirit Week. As is often the case with school special events, a photographer was there to snap some pictures.
The two lads were thrilled to see that their pictures had made it to the 2018-2019 yearbook. They were less than pleased, however, to see that an editor had censored their hats.
“We were like, ‘they blurred our hats out!’”
Gebhart is not pleased. He told a reporter that he believes his First Amendment right to free speech was violated by this decision.
“Everybody has First Amendment rights, freedom of speech and they are allowed to think what they want and say what they want but they aren’y allowed to take that away from other people,” he explained.
Jeremy Gebhart, 16, and his friend took a photo together while wearing their "Make America Great Again" hats https://t.co/o2WVyVDeem— WNEM TV5 (@WNEMTV5news) May 24, 2019
Jeremy’s mom, Lorraine Gebhart, is also upset.
“It’s very upsetting,” she said. “Someone used this on purpose to blur out that Trump logo and make their own statement,” she said.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, who specifically made the decision to edit the hats. In most high schools, a yearbook committee comprised of students — and overseen by a faculty member — does most of the work, and the faculty member acts as an adviser.
Regardless of who made the decision to censor the hats and/or who executed that decision, the Littlestown School District seems to have admitted that a mistake was made. Superintendent Christopher Bigger apologized in a written statement.
“We apologize on behalf of the yearbook club. it is not the policy or practice of the district to improperly censor speech.”
This is just one of several incidents to have made the news recently, in which high school and/or middle school students have run into issues at school for wearing Trump-related garb. For example, as reported by The Inquisitr last month, a New Hampshire high school student was made to cover up her pro-Trump shirt and remove her Make America Great Again hat by her school’s principal.