Providence, R.I. Christan Morales said her son wanted to honor American troops when he wore a hat to school decorated with an American flag and plastic Army figures.
But the school banned the hat because it ran afoul of the district’s zero-tolerance weapons policy. Why? The toy soldiers were carrying tiny guns.
Morales’ son, David, 8, had been assigned to make a hat for the day when his second-grade class would meet pen pals from another school. She and her son decided to add patriotic decorations to a camouflage hat.
After the hat was banned, the principal at the Tiogue School in Coventry said the hat would be fine if David replaced the men holding weapons with ones that didn’t have any, according to Superintendent Kenneth R. Di Pietro. But, Morales said, the family had only one Army figure without a weapon (he was carrying binoculars).
On Thursday, Di Pietro and the principal met with the retired commander of the Rhode Island National Guard, at the commander’s request. Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio said he disagreed with the hat ban.
“The American soldier is armed. That’s why they’re called the armed forces,” he said. “If you’re going to portray it any other way, you miss the point.”