Video footage on a Martin County school bus shows a bus aide screaming at a student to take off a MAGA Trump hat, then losing it and grabbing it off of the students head. (video below)
Now after the video was released the Martin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether the bus aide committed a crime.
Gunnar Johansson, 14, said every student was allowed to wear a hat to school if they made a donation to March of Dimes.
So he decided to wear his Make America Great Again hat, “to show my pride in Trump America,” Johansson said.
Johansson boarded the usual bus he takes to Hidden Oaks Middle School, and within seconds, the bus aide can be heard confronting Johansson.
“Boy, if you don’t that that hat off this bus… take it off. Take that hat off… take that hat off…” the bus aide, who has not been identified, is heard saying.
“I was really confused, I was like ‘I can’t wear this?’ “Johansson said.
The bus aide is heard telling Johansson to put his hat in his backpack, and continuing to tell him to take it off.
“She, like, threatened me with a referral and threatened to turn the bus around. I said ‘write me up, I didn’t do anything wrong’, and then she yanked my hat off. It was crazy,” Johansson said.
He continued the bus ride to Hidden Oaks Middle School without wearing his hat, though other students wearing hats were allowed to keep wearing theirs.
Johansson’s mother, Jackie Putt, said her other son and other students on the bus started texting their parents and Putt.
“I immediately went to the school,” Putt said. “I needed to know what my son just went through and what she did to my son.” Putt feels the bus aide’s actions were politically motivated.
Putt spoke with the school principal and had her son write down everything he remembered about the incident on the bus.
Putt said she decided to file a police report after learning that she would not be able to see the video of the incident until the investigation by the school district is closed.
“The district is aware of the family’s allegations. We’re taking it very seriously. We’re in the process of gathering all the facts right now,” said Frank Frangella, Director of Safety and Security for the Martin County School District.
Martin County Lieutenant Ryan Grimsdale is reviewing the video and interviewing everyone that was involved.
“The crux of our investigation will be the interaction directly, physically with the child and how that panned out,” Grimsdale said.
The school board does not have a policy that specifies students can not wear political attire. Johansson said other students were wearing Trump hats during the day, and he was allowed to wear it at school.
Putt said she is proud of how her son handled the situation.
“We all have a right to who we want to vote for, this is America,” Putt said.
“Standvup for what you believe in,” said Johansson.
Grimsdale expects to know by the middle of next week if any charges will be filed.
The school district has not confirmed the current status of the aide and Johansson said she has not been on the school bus since the incident.