California Student Charged With Assault After Ripping ‘MAGA’ Hat Off Classmate’s Head

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
August 29, 2018US News
California Student Charged With Assault After Ripping ‘MAGA’ Hat Off Classmate’s Head
A file photo of a 'Make America Great Again' hat. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

NTD Photo

A California high school student is facing assault charges after knocking a “Make America Great Again” hat off the head of a classmate and later slapping a teacher who intervened in the altercation.

Video footage captured on a cell phone in the classroom showed  Jo-Ann Butler, 17, going on a profanity-laden rant during the assault at Union Mine High School in El Dorado on Monday, Aug. 27.

Butler was arrested after “verbally berating another student because they were wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat,” according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.

“The suspect grabbed the hat off of the other student’s head and threw it to the ground. The teacher told the upset student to leave the classroom,” the office added. “The suspect shortly returned to the classroom and escalated the argument for a second time, again removing the victim’s hat. When the teacher held out his arm to keep the upset student away from the victim, the suspect slapped the teacher’s arm.”

The high school’s school resource officer, a sheriff’s deputy, then responded to the classroom and arrested the suspect, transporting her to the county’s juvenile hall.

‘Racist Symbol’

Butler claimed the hat was a racist symbol and refused to apologize for the assaults.

“That’s a racist and hateful symbol,” Butler said in the video. She added to CBS when asked about her motive in committing the crime, “Maybe just wake people up in some type of way, because it’s not cool the environment our classroom is in.”

Her father said the situation escalated out of control but seemed to agree with his daughter on some points.

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

The El Dorado Union High School District noted that it allows students to wear political symbols in its clothing policy. Butler has been suspended from school for a week as the District Attorney decides whether or not to formally charge her.


Wearing a “Make America Great Again” or “MAGA” hat has become a proud symbol of support for President Donald Trump; Trump wore various colors of the hat throughout his campaign and the hats are sold through his official online store.

However, people who are against Trump have regularly assaulted Trump’s supporters, including those wearing the hats.

On July 4, Hunter Richard, 16, was at a San Antonio Whataburger fast food restaurant with two of his friends when a man approached the table, stole Richard’s hat, took a drink from the table a threw it into Richard’s face.

In May, a Trump supporter wearing a “MAGA” hat was celebrating Mother’s Day with his girlfriend’s family when employees at the Florida Cheesecake Factory they were at verbally attacked and threatened him.

In early July, a Canadian man wearing a “MAGA” hat was denied service at a restaurant, prompting the establishment to fire the employee involved.

Just a few days later, a Texas man was caught on camera assaulting a teenager wearing a “MAGA” hat. That same month, a teen visiting Seattle from elsewhere in Washington state posted video footage of a man with green hair knocking his “MAGA” hat off and spitting on it.

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