Rhode Island elementary school draws fire after banning patriotic hat

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Elementary school officials at Tiogue Elementary School in Coventry, Rhode Island have drawn criticism after confiscating a patriotic baseball cap created by David Morales, an 8-year old boy.

The second-grader’s cap, made for a school project honoring the military, featured a small American flag and several plastic GI Joe’s. Morales’ teachers, though, claimed that the hat promoted the use of weapons in school zones.

The zero-tolerance policy irritated David’s mother, Christina Morales, who soon brought her concern to reporters. According to the Providence Journal:

“His teacher called and said it wasn’t appropriate,” Morales said. He was assigned to make a hat for the day when his second-grade class would meet their pen pals from another school. She and her son came up with an idea to add patriotic decorations to a camouflage hat.

Kenneth DiPietro, superintendent of Coventry Public Schools, insisted that the issue was not with patriotism or honoring the military but the promotion of weapons in school. Students are not allowed to wear or display any type of clothing promoting the use of drugs or weapons. (READ THE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT’S APOLOGY AND PROMISE TO ALTER SCHOOL POLICY HERE)

“When schools are worrying about budgets and quality education, examples such as this are misguided,” a representative at the National Rifle Association said. “This is not an appropriate time when there are more important issues to be addressed.”

On Friday, David received a medal from Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio, adjutant general emeritus of the Rhode Island National Guard. He later appeared on WPRO-AM’s John DePetro show wearing the hat.