A Florida bus aide has apologized after a school bus surveillance video captured her demanding that a middle school student remove his MAGA hat last week. When the student did not comply with her demand, the aide physically removed the hat from the 14-year-old student’s head.
A Martin County, Florida bus aide has apologized in a written statement after she was caught on video yelling at 14-year-old Hidden Oaks Middle School student Gunnar Johansson last week, demanding that the student take off his hat, which had “Trump” written on it in big letters at the top, with the words, “Make America Great Again” written underneath the president’s name.
When Johansson did not comply with her demand, the bus aide physically removed the hat from the student’s head. Johansson kept his hat off for the remainder of the bus ride, while other students wearing hats were allowed to keep their hats on, as students were allowed to wear hats to school that day if they made a donation to March of Dimes.
“We were able to confirm that the hat was removed from the child,” said Martin County Lieutenant Ryan Grimsdale to WPTV. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into whether or not the bus aide has committed a crime.
The bus aide has since issued a written statement with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, explaining her side of the story and apologizing to the student.
This is the written statement from the #martincounty bus aide at the center of the #trump #MAGA hat controversy. She apologizes for what she did. Other reports show she was personally offended by the hat, leading her to grab it off of a student. @WPTV pic.twitter.com/FwGaeLWWXh
— Meghan McRoberts (@MeghanWPTV) March 9, 2019
“Gunnar got on the bus he had on a Trump hat I asked him to take it off he found it to be a joke,” began the bus aide in her written apology, “I guess it was hat day we did not know I asked him numerous times to take it off.”
“So when he got to the back of the bus I asked him again he laughed so I gently took it off his head and told him to put it in his backpack and that was it,” continued the aide, “I do not have a problem with Gunnar we have always gotten alone I am sorry for what I did and I hope he forgives me. I overreacted and I apology.”
The student said that the bus aide had “threatened him with a referral” and “threatened to turn the bus around” if he did not comply with her demand — a bizarre request, considering the hat did not have anything inappropriate written on it, as it simply displayed the name of the sitting President of the United States and his 2016 campaign slogan.
Johansson’s mother told local media that she was proud of her son for how he handled the incident.
Unfortunately, incidents in which adults reprimand or punish young students for wearing attire in support of the United States president are not isolated to just one school.
An Arizona high school is currently under scrutiny by parents, community members, and even a state legislator after several students said they were punished for bringing “MAGA” items to school for “USA Day.”
In February, a California high school student was banned from wearing her MAGA hat campus, and last week, a viral video circulated on social media showing a Virginia high school student wearing a MAGA flag as a cape while a teacher’s assistant appeared to wrap the flag around the student’s neck.