A California high school has agreed to allow Hispanic students to wear their “Dump Trump” t-shirts on campus despite a dress code that seems to prohibit them.
Sean Boulton, the principal of Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, a town south of Los Angeles, agreed to let a group of Hispanic students wear shirts denigrating GOP front runner Donald Trump.
The school’s dress code for the 2015/16 school year puts a ban on clothing with “inappropriate graphics” and clothing with a message that “denigrates others on account of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, handicap or disadvantage.”
Despite those rules, school authorities are now allowing students to wear shirts attacking Trump and his voters.
One of the girls who requested the bending of the rules said her shirt made her “feel equal,” and that wearing the shirt was an expression of her free speech.
“I feel like they’re saying that we can wear the shirt makes me feel equal with them now. That I have the same privileges as they do. I didn’t feel that before,” student Angelina Alvarez told the media.
A district spokesperson said the shirts were allowed because the district allows political speech.
“Regardless of what side you’re on, we do allow students to wear their political attire as long as safety and security of our students is not compromised and that we maintain focus on learning,” spokesperson Annette Franco said.
The school also said it was looking into punishing students who were reportedly unhappy about the shirts and who “bullied” the Hispanic students for their anti-Trump garb.
The school’s decision comes after the Ninth Circuit Court upheld another California school district’s ban on students wearing U.S. Flag T-Shirts on the American/Mexican holiday Cinco De Mayo.
The case arose when a group of American students wanted to wear their U.S. flag shirts while other students draped themselves in Mexico’s national colors. The American-boosting students, though, were told to go home and change their clothes, and that they would not be allowed to wear the U.S. flag-themed garb because it might upset the Mexican students.
The students took the district to court and lost their case and their appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court.
When the decision was handed down, American Freedom Law Center Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise said, “It is truly a sad day when government officials are permitted to ban the American flag on a public high school campus for any reason. Here, school officials feared that our clients would offend ‘Mexican’ students if they wore their flag shirts to school on Cinco de Mayo, so they ordered the students to either remove their shirts or leave school in direct violation of their First Amendment rights.”
In contrast, authorities at Newport Harbor High School seem to have ruled that shirts attacking Donald Trump do not contain “triggering” messages but anyone speaking against the shirts may be punished.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com