Students at a rural northern Virginia middle school were told to remove their President Donald Trump-supporting “MAGA” hats in late February because they were causing a “substantial disruption,” according to local media reports.
The controversy erupted on Feb. 27 at Marshall Middle School in the Plains, Virginia, located about 45 miles west of Washington in Fauquier County.
Students had been allowed to donate $1 for a fundraiser to wear a hat to school. About a dozen chose to wear versions of Trump’s 2016 campaign signature cap with phrases such as “Make American Great Again” or “Trump 2020.”
But by lunchtime, the Trump-adorned students were told to take off their hats, and eventually all students were told to remove their headwear, Washington’s Fox-network affiliate WTTG reported.
An unnamed district official said the hats were causing a “substantial disruption” and that “tensions between students caused the fundraiser to end early.”
Controversies surrounding the wearing of Trump hats have recently occurred in other venues.
In December, a man who worked as a mall Santa claimed he was fired in Georgia for donning a MAGA cap. A Pulitzer Prize finalist said last year that people who wear “any kind of red baseball cap” are guilty of engendering fear among the populace.
After hat day was cancelled at Marshall, parents said students were given the option to have their dollar refunded.
The Fauquier County Public Schools’ code of student conduct does not prohibit the wearing of political apparel.
However, it does note that “any student’s dress that is determined by school administration to be disruptive to the learning environment is not acceptable.”
WTTG quoted an anonymous “source with knowledge of the incident” who said some of the Trump-hat wearing students began “bullying Latino classmates.” Other parents who spoke to WTTG said some students were told “go back to your country.”
Trump-supporting students and their parents adamantly denied such charges.
“It’s not true,” said 13-year-old student David Moore, who sported a camo-colored cap adorned with “Make America Great Again.” “I’m supporting our president. If that were to be a George Washington hat, I’m supporting that president. She wouldn’t tell us to take that off.”
“No,” said Joe Teague, father of 14-year-old Logan Teague, who wore a camouflage-colored cap with “Trump 2020” emblazoned on it. “No bullying. My son didn’t say one word to anybody. He wore his hat in support of the President of the United States. I felt that they were just targeted.”
In an emailed statement to Pluralist, Teague said the “overwhelming support from parents and students” was on the side of the pro-Trump crowd.
Several of the students decided to go home early that day, a choice their parents support.
“I want my son, as well other students, to be able to go to that school and support President Trump, the President of the United States. There’s no reason they should not be able to do that,” Joe Teague said.
However, a spokesperson for the school district told WTTG one of the students was disciplined and that administrators at Marshall handled the matter appropriately.
Teague told Pluralist he was “not aware of one punishment that was handed out as the result of this incident.”
“The students wearing the MAGA and Trump hats were targeted [by] the staff at Marshall Middle School. Plain and simple,” Teague said.