High school student faces battery charges over 'Make America Great Again' hat, calls it a 'hateful and racist' symbol

A Romney supporter listens to a speaker as he wears a “Make America Great Again” hat at a Mitt Romney election party in Orem, Utah, June 26, 2018. (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)

A 17-year-old student at Union Mine High School in El Dorado, Calif., is facing battery charges after she allegedly grabbed another student’s “Make America Great Again” hat off his head and allegedly physically assaulted her teacher in a classroom altercation.

Jo-Ann Butler, a senior at the school, was suspended for one week after she allegedly grabbed the MAGA hat in the classroom, according to CBS 13. As her English teacher escorted her out of the classroom, she allegedly slapped him, according to deputies. The incident was captured on video by another student in the class.

Butler says that her outburst was her way to express her political feelings, as she views the hat as a “racist and hateful symbol.”

“Maybe just wake people up in some type of way, because it’s not cool the environment that our classroom is in,” she told CBS 13.

El Dorado Union High School District allows students to wear political apparel, including the hat launched during President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“I don’t agree with grabbing someone’s hat and verbally talking to them in that way,” Butler’s father, Chris Butler, said. “But as far as the issue being brought up, maybe this is something that needs to be brought up.”

Butler now faces two counts of battery. The school district released a statement on the incident, saying in part, “Student and staff safety is our highest priority and the UMHS administration will continue to cooperate with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office as the incident is being investigated.”

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s office will decide later this week if it will file formal charges against Butler. 

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