Republican members of the Arizona House of Representatives on Monday requested the state’s chief legal officer to investigate “possible free speech violations” at a high school in the city of Gilbert.
In a letter sent to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Arizona Republican House Majority Leader Warren Petersen and 26 other Republicans called for a probe into reports regarding staff at Perry High School ordering several students to remove “Make American Great Again” attire.
According to the lawmakers, ordering the removal of the attire would be a violation of the pupil’s right to freedom of speech.
“Given that the free speech of all U.S. citizens is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, we ask that you, as the state’s chief legal officer, examine the facts of this case to ensure that the rights of these students were not infringed upon,” reads the letter.
— AZ House Republicans (@AZHouseGOP) March 5, 2019
Ryan Anderson, a spokesman for Brnovich, said in a statement to the Arizona Republic that the attorney general is looking into the matter. “We received the letter,” Anderson told the newspaper. “We’ll look at all of the facts. We just don’t know enough about the situation right now.”
AZ Central reported:
Republican lawmakers have assailed the district after a parent and students said administrators ordered kids to remove Trump clothing and accessories during a spirit day with a “Party in the USA” theme.
At least one student was suspended, according to parents.
Principal Dan Serrano, in a response sent to parents, said students were carrying political signs that caused a disruption and created a safety concern at lunch Friday.
On Monday, around 40 protesters, including nearly a dozen students, demonstrated outside the high school with American flags. “If we’re going to take issue with students wearing Trump attire, then why aren’t we taking issue with the Wednesday RedForEd attire?” State Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) said in her remarks at the gathering.
Chandler Unified School District spokesperson Terry Locke denied the students were reprimanded for their political views, claiming the group was only asked to discard a pro-Trump banner, not their attire.
“We welcome the oversight,” Locke said in response to the investigation.