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Student Calls Stealing MAGA Hat a ‘Political Statement’

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A female student at a Sacramento area high school is facing battery charges for allegedly stealing a “Make America Great Again” hat from a classmate and then slapping her teacher for intervening. She claims she was making a political statement about a “racist and hateful symbol.”

Blurry video from an altercation at Union Mine High School in El Dorado, California, shows a 17-year-old female swiping a “Make America Great Again” hat from off the head of one of her peers. After her teacher intervened, the student, senior Jo-Ann Butler, allegedly slapped the teacher and began cursing.

“That’s a racist and hateful symbol,” Butler said in an interview with a local television news affiliate. She went on to argue that her conduct was meant to bring attention to political issues facing America. “Maybe just wake people up in some type of way, because it’s not cool the environment our classroom is in,” Butler added. Butler is facing battery charges and has been suspended from school for a week.

In a comment to the press, Butler’s father, Chris, said that he while he disagreed with Jo-Ann’s method, he agreed with her anti-Trump message. “I don’t agree with grabbing someone’s hat and verbally talking to them in that way,” Chris Butler said in a brief comment. “But as far as the issue being brought up, maybe this is something that needs to be brought up.”

In a statement, the El Dorado Union High School District reaffirmed their commitment to allowing students to express themselves by wearing political symbols. They also announced that they will work with the local sheriff’s office to complete the investigation into Butler’s conduct. “…student and staff safety is our highest priority and the UMHS administration will continue to cooperate with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office as the incident is being investigated.”

A similar incident occurred at UC Riverside in late 2017. Student Edith Macias avoided jail time after she pled guilty to one count of petty theft over her decision to steal a “Make America Great Again” hat from one of her peers at UC Riverside.

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