This hasn’t been a good week for students’ First Amendment rights. First a fourth grader in Utah who came to school on Ash Wednesday with ashes on his forehead was ordered to clean it off by his teacher. Humiliated and forced to tears in front of his classmates, he was confused as to what he had done wrong. That ended with an apology to the boy and his parents.
Now comes word from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) of an Arizona high school student, Logan Jones, who was suspended for 10 days for wearing her “Make America Great Again” sweatshirt as part of the school’s “spirit week,” on a day when students were encouraged to wear “patriotic or other USA-themed clothing.”
But when Logan and her friends posed with their clothing and a pro-Trump banner after school in one of the school’s common areas, she was ordered off school property by the school’s resource officer, who would not give them a reason for the order. The officer then followed her and took pictures of her and demanded her name. When Logan asked why the officer needed her name, since she was leaving the property as requested, the officer ordered her to go speak to the vice principal immediately. She complied, but called her mother first, and when she arrived, the school’s principal came out of his office and said: “I am tired of hearing this. Logan Jones, you are suspended for 10 days. Get off of school property.”
ADF says that it’s clear from all the circumstances that the school and its principal objected to the message on Logan’s sweatshirt and poster, but pretextually attributed the suspension to her questioning the resource officer’s demand that she give her name.
In its letter to the principal, ADF stated: “…[T]here is ample evidence to establish that you imposed the suspension against Logan based on a disagreement with the viewpoint of Logan’s message.”
ADF has convinced the school to allow her back to class, but the school principal refuses to wipe the suspension off the girl’s school record. ADF and Logan’s parents are not satisfied with that, and have warned the school that it will take legal action for violating Logan’s rights if the suspension remains on her record.