How a Camouflage Hat and Little Plastic Soldiers Holding Little Plastic Guns Leads to a Change in School Policy.

Young David Morales, a second-grade student in Rhode Island, found himself between the proverbial rock and the hard place last week. Students were asked to design hats for a class project. David designed a hat depicting soldiers in our military. The little plastic soldiers on David’s hat held little plastic guns. The school responded by banning the hat as being a violation of their “no weapons allowed” policy.

David received outside support for his hat design from Lt. General Reginald Centracchio, who praised David for recognizing veterans and soldiers and presented the young patriot with a medal. David also received unexpected support of the ACLU chapter in Rhode Island, which reprimanded the school for violating David’s right to free speech.

Since that time, the tide has turned to alter current policy. The following was issued by the school superintendent, Ken Di Pietro.


Ken Di Pietro said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the no-weapons policy shouldn’t limit student expression, especially when students are depicting “tools of a profession or service,” such as the military or police.

“The event exposed how a policy meant to ensure safe environments for students can become restrictive and can present an image counter to the work of our schools to promote patriotism and democracy,” Di Pietro said.

I want to express my personal thanks to young David, Lt. General Centracchio and the school district of Rhode Island for their willingness to allow expression of patriotism. I have little doubt that the school followed the path of what is generally considered to be “politically correct” in our society at the present, even though it defies common sense in a lot of ways.

The circumstances of the situation have turned the tide in the favor of patriotism in this particular case. It is a baby step, but it is a step in the right direction all the same.

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