Police investigating after school bus aide threatens to punish student over MAGA hat, grabs it off his head

Florida police are investigating an incident in which a student’s “Make America Great Again” hat was reportedly grabbed off his head by a school bus aide.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after surveillance video on the school bus heading to Hidden Oaks Middle School revealed a bus aide yelled at a 14-year-old student to remove his MAGA hat before grabbing it off his head, WPTV reported.

Students were reportedly allowed to wear a hat of their choice to school if they made a donation to the March of Dimes, Gunnar Johansson told WPTV, explaining that he decided to wear the hat with President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan to “show my pride in Trump America.”

But a bus aide confronted him as soon as he boarded, yelling at him to remove the hat.

“Boy, if you don’t … that hat off this bus… take it off. Take that hat off… take that hat off…” the unidentified bus aide could be heard in the video footage.

“I was really confused, I was like ‘I can’t wear this?’ “Johansson said.

“She, like, threatened me with a referral and threatened to turn the bus around. I said ‘write me up, I didn’t do anything wrong’, and then she yanked my hat off. It was crazy,” the teen added.

He rode the rest of the way to school with his hat removed while other students continued to keep their hats on, WPTV reported. His mother, Jackie Putt, headed to the school as soon as she received texts from her son and other students on the bus about what happened.

“I immediately went to the school,” Putt told WPTV, feeling the incident was politically motivated. “I needed to know what my son just went through and what she did to my son,.”

Putt filed a police report after she found out she could not see the video of her son until the school district closed the investigation.

“The district is aware of the family’s allegations. We’re taking it very seriously. We’re in the process of gathering all the facts right now,” Frank Frangella, Director of Safety and Security for the Martin County School District, said.

While the school district did not confirm to the television outlet what the status of the aide was during the investigation, Johansson said he had not seen her on his bus since the incident.

“The crux of our investigation will be the interaction directly, physically with the child and how that panned out,”  Martin County Lieutenant Ryan Grimsdale said, noting police will be reviewing the video footage and speaking to the parties involved.

WPTV reported that the school board does not have a clear policy on students wearing political attire but Johansson maintained that other students were wearing Trump hats during the day.

“Stand up for what you believe in,” the teen said.

“We all have a right to who we want to vote for, this is America,” his mother said.

With yet another story of alleged discrimination and assault based on Trump attire, Twitter users expressed their anger at the reported attack on the teen.

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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