MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. (CBS Local) — A Florida bus aide who allegedly yelled at a middle school student to take off a Trump hat and then grabbed it off of his head, may face criminal charges, according to officials.
Surveillance video shows a bus aide yelling at Gunnar Johansson, 14, over his “TRUMP: Make America Great Again” hat and then grabbing the hat off of his head.
“Boy, if you don’t that hat off this bus. Take it off,” the unidentified bus aide is heard to say on the surveillance video.
The incident happened last week as a Martin County school bus was en route to Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City.
Johansson said students were allowed to wear a hat to school if they made a donation to March of Dimes. He decided to wear a Make America Great Again hat in support of President Donald Trump and “to show my pride in Trump America.”
“I was really confused, I was like ‘I can’t wear this?'” Johansson told WPTV. “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 without wearing his hat while other students on the bus who wore different hats were allowed to keep wearing them.
The bus aide later apologized when questioned by a Martin County deputy, saying she did realize it was “hat day” at school. She also admitted to overreacting.
“I do not have a problem with Gunnar. We have always gotten along,” she wrote in a statement released by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. “I am sorry for what I did and I hope he forgives me.”
The school board does not have a policy that prevents students from wearing political attire, WPTV reported. Johansson said other students were wearing MAGA hats during the day, and he was allowed to wear it at school.
“The district is aware of the family’s allegations. We’re taking it very seriously,” said Frank Frangella, Director of Safety and Security for the Martin County School District.
A spokesman for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said investigators will review the video and interview everyone involved to determine whether the bus aide committed a crime.
“The crux of our investigation will be the interaction directly, physically with the child,” Lieutenant Ryan Grimsdale said.