This is just crazy. Once upon a time, I was a public school teacher, and on various occasions, the students would choose to unite with popular culture for various and sundry reasons. Once, in an effort to show solidarity with “the Jena 6,” the majority of my African-American students came to school dressed in black. Throughout my tenure, I saw many “Obama” t-shirts, as well as quite a few other politically divisive symbols. In none of these cases did our school, our district, or our state (Georgia) act against these children. Why? Because the on-campus disruption was not deemed to be significant enough to challenge their First Amendment rights.
And you know what? The school was right to allow the protests to happen and for the speech to be uttered, not because the students were right, but because this is America and we are supposed to value and defend diversity of opinion, belief, and speech.
Well, apparently in California, the First Amendment is not so important.
In the past few years, we’ve seen students told not to wear clothing that affirms the 2nd Amendment (and here), we’ve seen students suspended for wearing the American Flag (also here); we’ve seen students punished for wearing a shirt that supports our troops and we’ve seen school districts demand that the American flag not be displayed at all! Now, one student has been disciplined for wearing a baseball cap with the words… “Make America Great Again.”
Logan Autry left Powers-Ginsburg Elementary School early on Thursday because school leaders said something he was wearing is causing a safety concern on campus– his red hat.
“The vice principal came up to me and told me to take my hat off because it brings negative attention from other students. And I said no a few times and then the principal told me again and I still said no and refused,” said Logan Autry.
For three days straight the third grader wore the hat to class. But each day, more and more classmates began confronting him at recess.
Usually when things get “banned” at a public school, it is because they are causing a disruption to the school day, which infringes on the education of the other children in the class or at the school. However, in this case, the news report takes pains to note that the “disruption” is happening during recess… which is, of course, a time specifically set aside for disruptions. If the report is accurate and the hat is not violating the school’s dress code, nor is it causing problems during the school day, then there should be no reason for the school to get involved in the child’s wardrobe choices.