California student says high school's MAGA hat ban violates First Amendment rights
The Clovis Unified School District, however, said that they would not allow her to wear the hat on campus because it violated the dress code of the institution
A student in California has claimed that her school district's ban on her wearing a 'Make America Great Again' hat on campus violates her First Amendment rights. The student, identified as Maddie Mueller, attends Clovis North High School in Fresno and is part of a group known as the Valley Patriots, which has asked its members to wear MAGA hats on Wednesdays.
The Clovis Unified School District (CUSD), however, said that they would not allow her to wear the hat on campus. Mueller then asked authorities if she could wear any hat featuring Trump on it with the school's colors, but her request was denied. The school, in its argument, said that the hat violated the dress code of the institution, according to KSEE.
Mueller, who is challenging the school district's decision, said: "How does being a patriot and trying to show pride in your country, how is that inappropriate?"
"To my knowledge, Trump is not a logo, it's a last name, it's just our president, you can't claim the president is a logo, sports team or affiliated with any gang," she told the outlet.
According to a CUSD spokesperson, Kelly Avants, although the district's dress code does not particularly prohibit certain items of clothing with political slogans, the hat may not be conducive to an effective environment.
"Bottom line for us, our dress code is really about allowing our kids to come to school, to feel safe at school, to be supported at school, and to be free of distractions so they can focus on learning," Avants said.
A former federal district judge, Oliver Wanger, said that the controversial hat had the potential to stir issues on the campus and hence the school could justify its action of banning it.
"Here we are closer to shouting fire in a crowded theater," he said. "If the hat is something that could invoke violence or invoke controversy, then for the safety of the students, the school is in its legal right." Wanger, however, also noted that the school's decision contravened Mueller’s First Amendment rights.
Mueller has claimed that she has received multiple threatening messages on social media. The schoolgirl said that this is not the first time she has been pulled up for an article of clothing. She was previously reprimanded for wearing t-shirts with the slogan 'Build the Wall'.
"I don't care if I offend anybody, I'm just showing support for the president and what I believe,” Mueller said.