Maddie Mueller is a Clovis North High School student in California who says she was banned from wearing a MAGA hat to school because of a district dress code.
However, she’s fighting back. The 18-year-old MAGA hat wearing senior and unabashed Donald Trump supporter has taken to the airwaves to ask: “How does being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country, how is that inappropriate?”
She told Yahoo Lifestyle: “He puts pride back in America — when I first heard him say ‘Make America Great Again,’ it touched me because I had never thought about patriotism before.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The School Says Its Dress Code Doesn’t Ban MAGA Clothing Specifically But Hats Are a Problem
Although Mueller says she wasn’t allowed to wear the hat, the school district says its dress code doesn’t specifically single out MAGA hats. Mueller says she also asked if she could wear another Trump hat and was told no to that request too.
“Our dress code is really about allowing our kids to come to school, to feel safe at school, to feel supported at school and to free of distractions so they can focus on learning,” said CUSD spokesperson Kelly Avants to CBS Los Angeles.
Clovis Unified School District also gave a statement to Fox News. “It’s unfortunate that our dress code is being misrepresented as specifically singling out a MAGA hat as that is not what the policy says,” Avants said to Fox. She added: “The district dress code allows for students to wear shirts or other clothing with a wide variety of sayings and/or political commentary. Unless causing an actual disruption on campus, MAGA apparel is acceptable, and this has been shared with the student.”
Heavy sent a series of follow-up questions to Avants, including asking what the policy specifically says, and will update this story if a response is received. Among the questions: Which disruption on campus was the student causing by wanting to wear a MAGA hat and why the reference to safety? Was Maddie Mueller not allowed to wear the MAGA hat and, if so, why? If the dress code allows shirts or other clothing with political commentary, why was Maddie Mueller not allowed to wear the hat, if that’s the case?
This was the response received:
“Our dress code applies to any and all apparel that kids may want to wear to school…Why do we have a dress code in Clovis Unified? We have a dress code to create a learning environment on campus that is safe, where students feel supported and welcomed, and that is as free from distraction as possible. That is why we have a dress code.”
Avants added, “The hat in question wasn’t out of dress code because of what it said, it was out of dress code because it didn’t meet the guidelines listed in the school’s student handbook.”
That was outlined as follows:
Only Clovis North Educational Center headgear, sold in the student store or provided by a CNEC sanctioned club, team, or activity may be worn. Headgear may not be altered or modified and must be worn forward facing. Hats and/or caps and/or sunglasses must be removed in the classrooms or offices. Specific clothing and hats determined by the school district or school site to be gang related or inappropriate apparel are not acceptable. Rules relative to college, university, and professional team apparel apply to hats, caps and other types of head coverings. Articles of sun-protective clothing, including, but not limited to, hats and sunglasses, may be used outdoors. Subject to these provisions, sun-protective clothing, headwear, other than caps or hats, will not be allowed at school. Handkerchiefs and sweatbands are not permitted unless they are Clovis Unified headgear. School sites may add other restrictions on the type of hats to be worn.
She further added: “Our dress code is silent on ‘political’ attire because we do not intend to position ourselves to be making subjective judgments about what is and isn’t ‘political.’… Where Ms. Mueller bumped into our dress code had nothing to do with the hat’s subject, it just wasn’t a school hat, which is why she can wear a shirt that says MAGA and not be out of dress code.”
To Yahoo Lifestyle, Avants further explained that hats are the problem. “The issue raised here is specific to a hat,” says Avants to the site. “Both the district’s dress code policy and the school’s handbook lays out allowable headgear to be hats or caps with the school logo and or in solid school colors. There has never been a subjective evaluation of what language or logo is or is not on a hat, because the policy is straightforward in allowing only school hats or hats in solid school colors.”
Mueller told the site she offered to get a MAGA hat in black – which is one of the school’s colors – but that was also denied.
2. On Facebook, Maddie Refers to Herself as a Republican & Adoption Supporter
Maddie Mueller has shared news stories about the MAGA hat controversy on her Facebook page. Her cover photo shows her wearing a MAGA hat and carrying an American flag. In the photo, she wears a shirt emblazoned with the word “deplorable.”
“God Bless Fox News for sharing my story,” she wrote with one news story share.
Her profile reads, “Valley Patriot. Young Republican. Adoption Awareness. Pro-Gun. Christian.” She lives in Clovis, California.
Family members have offered support in the comment thread. “Maddie Aunt Kathy is so proud of you! Keep being you❤️” wrote one relative.
3. Maddie Wrote That This Is a ‘Fight I Am Willing to Fight’ & Says She Has ‘MAGA In My Blood’
On Facebook, Maddie Mueller has expressed her feelings about the battle. She wrote:
This is a fight I am willing to fight, a cause I am willing to die for. But, most importantly, its a Right that I am willing to take the bullying for. We will answer my questions! God Bless everyone for being so encouraging for me as I tackle this journey!
MAGA in my blood, American Pride in my soul. This does not end here!
Maddie wrote in an emotional Facebook post that she has anxiety sometimes because she’s worried she will get in trouble at school because of her political beliefs.
“I have been struggling with my anxiety lately,” she wrote. “I feel it like a dark shadow over me every day at school. I always worry about being in trouble for politics, my first amendment rights, or things that there are no written rules for. Sometimes I find myself worrying when people from the disciplinary office walk by the room, because I wonder if they’re coming for me. I shouldn’t have to feel this way.”
She added: “I have been in trouble this year too many times to count. I was in trouble in November for wearing Nunes, Valadao, and Trump shirts as well as passing out stickers and magnets from the Nunes campaign. There was no rule to support this. I was not 18 years old yet, so I wasn’t in violation of the rule that prohibited adults from giving political propaganda out. I was in trouble for speaking on KMJ radio during school hours about my experience as a senior experiencing school threats for the first time, and my opinion on how things were handled. Not a minute after I was off the air, my principal pulled me into a meeting with him and the deputy principal. My mother was called. She stood up for me. That same day I had a teacher get in my face in front of my peers and tell me how wrong my radio appearance was as well as comments I made online on the Fresno Bee stating my view as a student. I was told I was not in trouble, but I have been under a microscope since.”
4. Maddie Is Part of a Conservative Activist Group Called Valley Patriots
According to CBS Los Angeles, Maddie belongs to the “conservative activist group Valley Patriots.” She wanted to wear the MAGA hat to school after the group urged people to do so, the television station reported.
On February 18, 2019, on Facebook, she shared a notice for “MAGA hat day,” which was supposed to be on February 20, and wrote, “Spread the Word! Thank you…for creating this event! Let’s show our MAGA pride!!” That’s the day she says she was told she couldn’t wear the hat.
The event was supposed to show “support, love and pride” for President Donald Trump, according to the Facebook message that Maddie shared. She wrote that she found her MAGA hat on Amazon.
5. Maddie Mueller Says She Hopes to Become a Congresswoman Some Day
Maddie has big dreams; she hopes to channel her activism into action and become a congresswoman some day, according to YourCentralValley.com.
Maddie has been quoted on issues of national importance before.
“There are supporters in California who are for the President, who are for his national emergency who want the wall for our safety,” Mueller said to ABC 30.