Jacob Labosky, a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory High School in San Jose, California, was sent home on the 24th of March for wearing an I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) hat on school grounds.
While Bellarmine does not permit hats (per its student handbook), this ban is applied on a class-by-class basis. Labosky followed this policy by removing the I.C.E. hat in classes where hats are not allowed.
The day after wearing the hat around school for the first time, he was subsequently cornered by several members of Bellarmine’s Latino Student Union wearing shirts that read “Deport Trump” and “Duck Trump.” These students referred to Labosky’s hat as “offensive” and verbally attacked Labosky with a profanity-laden tirade. Later that day, one of the students confiscated Labosky’s hat and brought it to Patrick Talesfore, the Assistant Dean of Students at Bellarmine.
According to Jacob, Talesfore pulled Labosky from class, and proceeded to loudly berate him for the incident in front of other students while the two were walking through the school, reportedly referring to Labosky as “racist,” “idiot,” “ignorant,” “gutless,” and alleging Labosky wore the hat “trying to incite fear in these kids.”
Following this incident, Bellarmine sent Labosky home “for others to recover and for his own safety,” according to Jacob.
At the time of publication, none of the students who verbally attacked and took Labosky’s hat have been disciplined.
After being sent home, Labosky took to Snapchat to respond to the incident, posting a message that read: “Hat triggers snowflakes. Sent home, not suspended to let them recover and to ‘protect’ me. Support the agencies that keep us safe and protect our freedoms i.e. not just ICE.”
Bellarmine’s administration found out about Labosky’s snapchat comments, and, taking the other incident into account, moved to expel Labosky from school, according to Jacob. Labosky and his mother appealed the disproportionate reaction, and were successful in reducing his punishment to a suspension. Still, this means Labosky cannot attend class on campus, must complete his course work at home, and will not be allowed to walk at graduation later this spring.
To further complicate matters, someone within Bellarmine’s community apparently tipped off the University of Portland (where Labosky is enrolled to start next year). Jacob’s mother learned that the person who contacted the University of Portland incorrectly reported that Labosky was expelled and no longer a student at Bellarmine.
As a result of this false and inappropriate report, Bellarmine demanded that Labosky write a letter of apology explaining how he is working to compensate for his actions.
According to Jacob and his mother, Bellarmine administrators made it clear that the school views Jacob’s hat and behavior as “dividing the community,” and that “this is an issue of one person [Jacob] versus the [student] community.”
The basis for these accusations is frankly absurd, as Jacob himself is half-hispanic, and merely wanted to express his support for America’s law enforcement personnel.
Young America’s Foundation repeatedly reached out to multiple people at Bellarmine, and received no response, clarification, or comment. Their silence in this matter speaks volumes.
Updated 4/6 @ 1:50pm ET to reflect the affiliation of the Latino Student Union to the students who verbally attacked Labosky and took his hat.
Updated 4/6 @ 2:20pm ET with newly corroborated quotes from Talesfore.