School Bans 3rd Grader's Controversial Hat for His Own Safety

trump make america great again cap

Just when you thought politics couldn't get any grosser, there's a report of a 9-year-old whose school asked him to stop wearing one of those "Make America Great" ball caps Trump has been schlocking. Of course, he refused and the whole thing got heated. So when presidential politics is too ugly for school, what does that say about where we are as a country?


Logan, who is just an innocent 9-year-old third grader trying to express himself, was so inspired after ditching school to attend a Trump rally in his hometown of Fresno, California, that he started wearing his red "Make America Great Again" cap to school. He wore it for three days, despite taunts from the other kids, until it became such a big issue that it started to threaten school safety and "interrupt school operations." He was asked to take the hat off and leave it at home. He refused.

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"I've told them his policies on illegal immigration, and our second amendment, and our first amendment and all of our amendments that need to be protected which are not going to be an amendment at all if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders gets elected," Logan told WTVR.

"I still said 'no I am not taking it off' and I said 'no,'" Logan said. "Then the principal told me to take it off but I still said no."

His uncle added, "He supports Trump even at his age. He knows a lot about politics."

Way to teach the kid to respect school authority. Hats off to ya.

Logan might be able to repeat Trump talking points, but he couldn't possibly understand the loaded, racist meaning that slogan on a hat has come to symbolize for millions of Americans. For many, whether Trump or his followers want to admit it, "Make America Great Again" is a rallying cry for racists who believe Trump's rhetoric actually amounts to a plausible political platform. That's way too heavy of a concept for a third grader to absorb, so I have to wonder why his family is willing to send him out to carry Trump's message with the full knowledge of how unsettling it is to millions of people.

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How is that a bold, courageous political statement?

It would be similar to my sending my daughter to school in a Planned Parenthood T-shirt, as a feminist, pro-choice mom. It's not something I find offensive, but I'm well aware that millions of Americans do. So why would I send my kid, who is unable to actually understand the issue, to school with that message emblazoned on her? It would be stupid and irresponsible and bring her unwanted attention and controversy. I don't see any difference between that and a Trump hat. Both are far too big, ugly, and divisive of conversations for children to have at school in this political climate.

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It's just really awful that our national politics has become so contentious it's no longer safe for our kids. Or as Trump might tweet, "Sad!"

I don't know about you, but I remember as a kid not too much younger than Logan participating in school mock elections. I vividly recall kids arguing about Ronald Reagan versus Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, and our teachers using elections as a way to teach us about civics and the electoral college. We disagreed, counted votes, and moved on to talking about phonics. No bigs. But now, decades later, the process of electing an American president has become such an ugly process, it has our kids scuffling on the playgrounds.

Because for many of them, Trump's being elected really does put their families at risk. The Southern Poverty Law Center surveyed thousands of teachers who report how what they call the  "Trump effect" has increased bullying of Hispanic students and general racial tension and anxiety. Is this really what we want for our kids in school? 

Vanessa Barfied, a 15-year-old high school student in Fresno, told the Fresno Bee, trying to hold back tears, about her fears that Trump will be elected president.

"When he said he was going to deport Mexicans, I was like, what’s going to happen to my mom? And if it does happen, am I going to be deported too? Because I’m only half," she said.

When political rhetoric has escalated to the level of kids' going through this, something's got to change. And it's got to start at home.
Listen, if you're the parent or caretaker of a kid and you dig Trump's brand of fact-less, lunatic racism, that's absolutely your right to listen to it and vote for him. But Trump's campaign speeches shouldn't make any of our kids less safe at school or take time away that teachers need to be spending on learning.
If you're a Trump fan encouraging kids to go to school and speak out against the rights of other kids, then you can probably bet they're going to have problems. When it comes to kids' being worried about their mommies being taken away, a first amendment argument isn't really going to stick. And when you let your third grader wear a hat with a slogan that stands for mass deportations and banning Muslims from our country, you're going to draw some heat. That's what Trump's entire campaign was designed to do. The difference is that Trump stands behind an army of Secret Service agents, so when he threatens people's families directly he's protected from the backlash. Your kids? Not so much.
But ultimately the only place where we can put an end to the hate and anger is at home. Regardless of your political beliefs, no one should send a kid to school locked and loaded for a fight, for any reason. We all have a responsibility to teach our kids how to coexist and interact with all sorts of people, and school is the first place they learn to do just that.
As for Logan, he won't be able to wear his red hat anymore -- apparently his dog ate it. Must he a Hillary supporter.
So even if your household wants to "Make America Great Again," please remember that there are millions of us, and our kids, who already think it's pretty great. So let's just leave the kiddos out of the fight and work this out like Americans do — at the voting booth.
Image via Chicago Tribune/Twitter
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