PHONE VIDEO SURFACES: Parents Claim Arizona High Schoolers in Trouble Over Wearing Pro-Trump Gear, Principal Says Accusations Are ‘False’
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ARIZONA – Parents claim students at an Arizona high school got in trouble over wearing President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) logo on Friday as part of spirit week activities, but the principal said the accusations were “false.”
Parent Jennifer Farris wrote in a Facebook post Friday that kids who wore MAGA hats and shirts and brought other gear were reportedly asked to leave school premises and those who “defended themselves” were suspended.
The school’s principal Dan Serrano said the accusations surrounding student discipline for expressing political viewpoints or donning political attire were “false” in a letter to parents Saturday.
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The administration addressed an incident that occurred at lunch this past Friday, when students carrying political signage caused a disruption and created safety concern. The students were asked to put away the signage and they complied. However, after school ended for the day, the students unveiled the signage again in a manner that again caused concern for student safety. When the school’s Resource Officer asked the students to leave campus, they declined. They also refused to respond to my request to provide their names and school identification when I sought to interview them. The information circulating about student discipline is incorrect, but the District is unable to correct the record due to federal privacy laws relating to disclosure of student information.
In summary, our administration has not and will not discipline a student for lawfully exercising their free speech rights. Students may lawfully be held accountable for complying with the District’s lawful policies, administrative regulations and expectations for student conduct set forth in the Student Handbook. It is our responsibility to maintain a safe campus and ensure there are no disruptions to the educational environment. Students or visitors who refuse to comply with administration and law enforcement may be asked to leave the campus when the administration deems it in the best interest of safety, security and effective school operations.
Heidi Jones, another parent, also had a daughter who refused to give her name.
“I thought the whole situation was weird,” Jones said, according to AZCentral. “They’re out of school, so why are you coming up to her?”
Jones claimed her daughter was suspended for 10 days though Chandler Unified School District’s (CUSD) spokesperson Terry Locke said a student was suspended, but it was not related to wearing any MAGA apparel, AZCentral reported.
CUSD said in an updated statement Monday afternoon that one unspecified parent was accused of trespassing, or directed to leave campus, after she refused to leave and would not stop “screaming, yelling and cursing.”
It is unclear which parent allegedly swore. Farris said to TheDCNF she called the principal a “jerk” after being directed to leave, but did not swear at him.
Parents in the community have different opinions over the issue.
Parent Lisa Schedler, who identifies as a conservative, says “Anyone who is on campus is required to show their ID if asked.” Farris, however, said students were “NOT required to give their personal information to the police officer.”
“A student may decline at any time to be interviewed by the School Resource Officer (SRO) or another peace officer,” the school’s student handbook said. The handbook does not directly address political wear, but the administration “retains the final discretion to determine that the garment or accessory meets the dress code.” Students are required to hand over IDs when asked by faculty.
Parent Aileen Bell, who is also the wife of a PHS teacher, said to TheDCNF that Farris “blew the entire story out of context and made this debacle.” She added that Farris did “curse vulgarities” at staff.
Schedler does not believe students were punished for wearing MAGA gear, but for not following school rules. She added the school has a “very conservative population” and many students wear them.
Parent Michael Incardone said to TheDCNF over Facebook Messenger that this was “an isolated event at one school that should have been handled differently.”
Purple for Parents, a group against the RedforEd movement according to member Forest Moriarty, organized a free speech rally outside of the high school in response to the MAGA gear controversy Monday.
Jones could not be reached for comment.