A bus aide in a Florida school district was handed a four-day unpaid suspension after she reportedly took a Trump hat from a middle school student. Gunnar Johansson, 14, was on the bus on March 5 when he was wearing a blue hat with “TRUMP” emblazoned in white, with the slogan, “Make America Great Again” underneath.
Deputies confirmed to local WPTV that students were allowed to wear hats that day if they donated to the March of Dimes. Despite being permitted to wear the hat, bus aide Delores Matheny reportedly told him to remove it over and over. When he didn’t comply, she physically took it off his head. Security video captured the incident.
According to local publication TCPalm.com, Matheny told deputies that she did this because “I was personally offended” by the hat, and that “I totally regret doing this.” The Martin County Sheriff’s Office pushed for criminal charges against Matheny, but prosecutors declined. A school board hearing was held, and they found that Matheny engaged in misconduct, but Johansson’s parents don’t think it was enough. “They have a rule that says you can’t discriminate or harass a child based on political beliefs,” his father Michael Putt said. “And that’s what happened. And that’s not what the motion brought forward that was approved today.”
“I don’t feel today that our voice was heard,” mother Jackie Putt said. Nevertheless, she said, “I just want to make it really clear that we forgive Delores Matheny. We forgive and Gunnar forgives.” Officials say that when Matheny returns from her suspension, she could be reassigned to a different bus. She’ll also have to go through professional development, possibly including sensitivity training.
[Image via WPTV screengrab]