Patriotic eighth grader expelled after dawning patriotic hat during speech

June 17, 2024

After dawning on a “Make America Great Again” hat, Jimmy Heyward filmed his campaign speech as a likely candidate for St. Bonaventure Catholic School’s commissioner of patriotism and school spirit. The middle schooler’s patriotic campaign was just one step closer towards his aspirations of serving in public office. The school’s principal, however, did not share the same sentiment. 

Although Jimmy was campaigning for patriotism, the principal banned his speech unless all patriotic references were removed. Like many patriots before him, Jimmy refused to comply and was forced to awkwardly watch as fellow students assembled without him. Just recently, at the conclusion of the school year, the Heyward Family was further notified that Jimmy and his two sisters were no longer welcome at the school and expelled in accordance with the Student-Parent Handbook.  

St. Bonaventure Catholic School Parent-Student Handbook states that “Only in exceptional cases shall the expulsion of an eighth-grade student who has been in the school one or more years be allowed.” Although the Heyward family has not brought any action against the school, schools should remember the holding of Tinker v. Des Moines: students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” 

"I didn't remove the patriotic part of the speech, that's the most important part. I'm not removing it," said Heyward, the expelled student. 

You can read more about Jimmy’s story here