CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – A Missouri middle school suspended a student who was pummeled on his school bus for wearing a Make America Great Again hat.
A video of the incident published by KMOV shows several students confronting 12-year-old Parkway School District student Gavin Cortina on a bus last Wednesday over of his red Make America Great Again hat.
One of the instigators yelled “you want to build a wall? You want to build a f**king wall!?” before throwing punches.
“At one point he just got so frustrated he pushed me … and then he kept hitting me and backing me up to my window of the bus, so I just had to push him out,” Gavin said.
His mother, Christina Cortina, told the news site her son was suspended over the incident, and she doesn’t think it’s right.
“As a parent it’s so upsetting,” she said. “I feel like my son was made an example of, it was a tricky situation, it was politically charged.”
“I saw him being persecuted for having an opinion of his own. I saw him being berated, and bullied and beat, literally beat, because he felt strongly about the world today,” she said.
District officials told KMOV all students involved in the incident faced “consequences,” but declined to detail what they were.
“The spokesperson added the Missouri school district was also working to sit all the students down and reach a peaceful understanding about the incident and politics,” according to the Daily Mail.
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Gavin isn’t the first student to be attacked by his classmates for supporting the president.
Late last month, Muskegon, Michigan 10-year-old Dallas Johnson wore his MAGA hat to school on Inauguration Day, and was ridiculed and bullied by his classmates for it.
“During recess some kids said stuff about (President Trump) and would take my cap off,” Dallas said. “They were saying ‘Trump is gay, Trump is wacked, and take that hat off,’ One kid took it off and ran away with it,” he said. “One of my friends told me, ‘You’re not wearing that hat to basketball practice.’”
The hat, a present from his parents, was a point of pride when he went to school on Inauguration Day, but the bullying took a toll on the student.
“When he got in the car, I said ‘What’s wrong buddy?’” his mother, Dee Johnson, told EAGnews. “He said people kept taking his hat. He was kind of choked up. He said the kids kept saying President Trump was gay, dumb and stupid. I asked if the class has watched the inauguration, and he said ‘no.’”
“I was upset. When we got home I wrote (a Facebook post) because my heart hurt for him. Here he was, excited about the guy he had watched go through the election and win. He was so excited, then he was crushed,” his mother said.
A chance meeting with a man at a local gym wearing a Trump shirt later that evening, however, lifted his spirits.
“I said, ‘What a coincidence, I’m wearing my Trump hat,” Dallas said. “He said he had to get a picture of us.”
“Later on (Dallas’ father) went over and told the guy what kind of day Dallas had, and thanked him,” Johnsons said.
By the next Monday, Dallas was determined to wear his MAGA hat to school again, regardless of what his classmates think.
“It was up to him,” his mother said. “I just said, ‘It seems to upset you when this stuff happens, so if you don’t want to wear it, that’s fine.’”
“I said ‘I’m wearing my hat, whether they like it or not,’” Dallas said.