By Jon Dougherty
It’s becoming patently obvious that freedom of expression for primary school students is in the eyes of the beholder (teachers and school administrators) as evidenced by the latest round of official condemnation against kids who support our current president.
AÂ PJ Media reported:
Perry High School in Gilbert, Ariz., suspended student Logan Jones after a security officer reprimanded her as she posed for photos in a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) sweater while holding a pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” flag.Â
It’s not immediately clear why the above picture constituted a “security” issue given the real security issues facing schools these days, but perhaps the officer believed a deranged anti-Trump student would take physical retribution against the female students for daring to support POTUS Donald Trump.
In any event, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal organization, sent a letter to Perry High officials demanding that they reinstate Logan, which they did. Only, they wouldn’t expunge her suspension.
ADF says that’s not going to wash.
“Public schools have a duty to respect the legitimate free expression of students that the First Amendment guarantees to them,” Tyson Langhofer, ADF senior counsel and director of the Center for Academic Freedom,Â wrote in a statement Thursday. “While itâ€™s good that the school is allowing Logan to return to school, it isnâ€™t acceptable that this unjust suspension will remain on her record.
“As we continue discussions with the school, we are also consulting with Logan and her mother to determine what our next steps will be if the school doesnâ€™t do the right thing and remove the suspension,” Langhofer added.
So, what was the point of the flag and MAGA gear? According to theÂ demand letter, Logan and her friends were dressed in patriotic and USA-themed clothing for a “Party in the USA Day” on the last day of Spirit Week. And really, isn’t expressing support for our current president showing spirit and pride in our country?
Not if that president is Trump, apparently.
“Immediately after school was dismissed at 2:14 p.m., [Jones] and a few of her friends went to one of the outdoor common areas of campus to take pictures together before they went home,” the letter reads. “This is a common practice for [Jones] and many other students and it happens virtually every day after school without any interference by school officials. Less than five minutes after they arrived, while [Jones] and her friend were taking a picture in their MAGA sweatshirts and holding a flag that said ‘Trump’ and ‘Make America Great Again,’ a School Resource Officer approached and ordered [Jones] and her friends to leave.”
PJ Media reported further:
Jones immediately obeyed and started packing up to leave. The officer took photos of her and her friends with his phone, began following her as she left campus, and then ordered her to give him her name. Jones asked why he needed her name, as she was complying with his order. At that point, the officer told her to speak with Vice Principal Heather Patterson.
Jones called her mother and told her about the situation. Her mother said she would come to the school herself and told Jones not to speak with anyone until she arrived. At the office, Jones was again asked to give her name. She “politely replied that her mother was on her way to the office and that her mother had instructed her not to answer any questions until she arrived.”
Once the mother arrived, a brief discussion ensued between the mother, Principal Dan Serrano, Vice Principal Patterson, and the officer. Principal Serrano left, saying, “I am tired of hearing this. Logan Jones, you are suspended for 10 days. Get off of school property.”
Jones was allegedly suspended for failing to identify herself to school officials, yet ADF argued that “this reason was mere pretext.”
“This blatant censorship of [Jones’s] speech violates the First Amendment,” the letter declares.
Of course, it is. And what a difference a president makes.
Recall that when Barack Obama was sitting in the Oval Office, it was cause to celebrate — and indoctrinate — school students, which included literally singing his praises, as these kids were forced to do:
Or that time a young Texas teacher wore a “Vote Obama” shirt to school.
Now, there have been times when students were forbidden from wearing Obama gear to schools as well. But not once was any clothing tied to support of him associated with bigotry, racism, or homophobia as MAGA gear and anything with “Trump” written on it in support of the 45th president (though Obama’s racism is legendary).
Clearly, we’re dealing with a double standard here.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10