FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – A politically active California student who was told she can’t wear her “Make American Great Again” hat on campus is now challenging the school district’s decision, saying her First Amendment right is being violated.
“How does being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country, how is that inappropriate?”
Clovis North senior Maddie Mueller doesn’t shy away from sharing her political views or wardrobe. She is a member of the “Valley Patriots.” the group asked their members to wear their MAGA hats on Feb. 20. Maddie was told she couldn’t on campus, so she asked if she could wear any Trump hat with school colors on it.
She says she was told no, citing the dress code.
“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.”
The Clovis Unified School District’s dress code does not specify if political hats or shirts are allowed.
“Bottom line for us is the dress code is for kids to feel safe at school and free of distractions so they can focus on learning.” said CUSD spokesperson Kelly Avants.
“Here we are closer to shouting fire in a crowded theater.”
Former federal district judge Oliver Wanger says the student’s First Amendment right is being stripped, but the district may have the right to do so.
“If the hat is something that could invoke violence or invoke controversy, then for the sake of the safety for students, the school is in their legal right.”
Maddie says she’s been dress coded repeatedly for wearing t-shirts that say “build the wall.”
“I don’t care if I offend anybody. I’m just showing support for the President and what I believe.”
Maddie’s parents support her mission, but she says her mom believes the consequences could be severe.
“She’s worried they may hold me from graduating if I continue to be vocal and do things like this.”
Maddie says she has received some social media threats over this, but that will not stop her from living out her dream of becoming a congresswoman.