GILBERT, Ariz. (FOX 10/AP) - A protest was held outside Perry High School in Gilbert on Monday morning after several students say they were reprimanded for wearing "Make America Great Again" attire.
Around 40 people, including a few students, gathered Monday morning across the street from the high school with signs and flags saying "Make America Great Again" and other messages supportive of President Donald Trump.
The students say they wore the "MAGA" attire last Friday, dubbed "Party in the USA Day," during spirit week. They say they were encouraged to wear clothing that celebrated our country, but when they were told to take off the clothing, they refused.
"As we were taking pictures, [a] police officer approached us and [said], 'We are asking you to leave the campus right now,'" said freshman Logan James, who got suspended. Her suspension upset a few parents.
"I'm infuriated," said Jennifer Farris, a Perry high parent. "I feel like they don't support our president and they are inflicting those thoughts on our kids."
The students who wore the "MAGA" gear were not notified that they couldn't wear any Trump gear. A dance at the high school was held on March 2, and parents were notified that students were not allowed to wear any "MAGA" attire.
When we reached out to the Chandler Unified School District, the spokesperson confirmed one of the students, Logan James, was suspended, but for a different reason. She told us she does plan to apologize to the school's staff for being defiant.
The school's principal, Dan Serrano, issued the following statement:
"I am writing to clear up misinformation circulating on social media and media, specifically that students have been disciplined for expressing their political viewpoints or wearing political attire. This is false.
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.
We are proud of our environment at Perry, where diverse opinions are valued. Thank you for the support you provide to our staff and students throughout the year.