Vancouver: teacher wins free speech case for wearing MAGA cap

The judge in the case ruled in favor of the teacher on the basis of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a former Vancouver, Washington, teacher after he was accused by a school principal of wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) cap and allegedly downloading political messages in an educational facility for minors. The judge in the case based her ruling on the First Amendment to the Constitution.

In 2019, Eric Dodge, a retired Wyeast Middle School science teacher, provided a training for school staff wearing a garment sporting the slogan popularized by Donald Trump. No students participated in the event.

However, some attendees said they felt "intimidated" and "threatened" by the lecturer's attitude and the school's principal, Caroline Garret, took legal action against him. For his part, Dodge claimed that he was verbally assaulted by the participants, who asked him not to wear the cap in question in that context.

The resolution

Last Dec. 29, Judge Danielle J. Forrest concluded that there was no evidence that Dodge broke the law and that the former teacher, who resigned from his position at the educational institution in 2020, was protected by the Constitution. More precisely because of the First Amendment, which preserves freedom of speech.

The court noted that because the teacher did not wear the garment with the Make America Great Again in front of students or in a classroom, the slogan represented only his personal beliefs and not those of Wyeast Middle School.