Arizona attorney general looking into pro-Trump high school incident

Mar 6, 2019, 9:49 AM | Updated: 12:14 pm

PHOENIX — The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is looking into an incident with East Valley high school students who claimed they were punished for donning pro-President Donald Trump attire.

Mark Brnovich said his office reached out to the Chandler Unified School District regarding Perry High School students who said they were told to remove clothing and accessories with the Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again,” despite the principal saying the students caused a safety concern.

“We would like to get to the bottom line to see what’s happening,” Brnovich told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday.

“Reserving judgment, we just want to make sure that if people are being punished, discipline is being done in an consistent and a fair manner.”

Jennifer Ferris, whose children attend the Gilbert high school, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News Monday that her children were among those who were disciplined Friday.

She said the teenagers were wearing a “MAGA” hat and a sweatshirt and were taking pictures with a pro-Trump flag when they were brought to the office and told to leave campus.

But Principal Dan Serrano said in a letter sent to parents that the students were not “disciplined for expressing their political viewpoints or wearing political attire,” but were penalized for “carrying political signage [during the lunch hour that] caused a disruption and created safety concern.”

Serrano said unidentified students were asked to put away the signage and complied, but unveiled it again after school ended “in a manner that again caused concern for student safety.”

The students also refused to leave campus when asked and refused to provide their names and school identification.

“Our administration has not and will not discipline a student for lawfully exercising their free speech rights,” part of the letter from Serrano read.

“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 continued.

A small group of parents and students protested outside of the school on Monday over the incident.

Arizona House Republicans also sent a letter to the attorney general’s office urging an investigation, arguing that the students’ First Amendment rights had been violated.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(AP Photo, File/Nati Harnik)...
Associated Press

Arizona judges reject challenges to 2 voter initiatives for November ballot

Judges rejected challenges to two Arizona voter initiative on Wednesday, siding with proponents of a measure limiting so-called predatory debt collection and for one that would require people who fund political campaigns through nonprofit groups to be identified.
10 hours ago
Colleen Nussnaumer (Photo via Peoria Police Department)...

Missing West Valley woman found safe, Silver Alert canceled

A Silver Alert for a missing West Valley woman was canceled Thursday after she was found safe, authorities said.
10 hours ago
Gary Moddrell (Photo via Peoria Police Department)...

Silver Alert issued for Peoria man with memory problems

A Silver Alert was issued for a Peoria man who has been missing since Tuesday, authorities said.
10 hours ago
Angela Pike watches her fourth grade students at Lakewood Elementary School in Cecilia, Ky., as the...
Griselda Zetino

Where are the teachers? A look at Arizona’s struggle to fill positions

Elementary teachers are some of the hardest jobs to fill for schools in Arizona, according to a recent survey.
10 hours ago
(City of Phoenix Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Hundreds of weapons seized since start of Phoenix crackdown on gun crime

More than 700 firearms have been taken out of the wrong hands since Phoenix implemented its Operation Gun Crime Crackdown last month, the city said Wednesday.
10 hours ago
A doctor shows a monkeypox sore on a patient´s foot at the Arzobispo Loayza hospital in Lima, Peru...

Arizona health department launches monkeypox resource page

Arizona health officials launched a monkeypox web page with information and resources to help the community better understand the outbreak.
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Arizona attorney general looking into pro-Trump high school incident