Administrators at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Arizona, have issued a mandate to students about what they can and cannot wear to a football game against rival Marcos de Niza — wear what we approve of or you will not be admitted.
The reason? The school paper reports “the administration decided it was best to avoid any possible offensive connotations the theme would have.”
What constitutes unacceptable clothing choices that could have “any possible offensive connotations”? According to the school paper:
It is the unfortunate truth that if you wear red, white or blue to the game you will not be admitted to the stadium. This is a fact.
But it didn’t end there. In a now deleted tweet, the newspaper staff was asked to be more specific as to what constitutes a violation of banned clothing list, to which the paper’s editors responded:
— Mike Mack (@MikeMacck) October 22, 2015
“Anything perceived to be offensive/racist: green, USA, flags, Trump, etc. It’s not the clothing, but the intent behind it,” the quickly deleted tweet read.
The school newspaper responded, though not to the inclusion of Trump or the flag, to a social media explosion over the mandate.
Twitter exploded. Students became hostile towards administration and StudCo, saying they didn’t have a right to tell students what to wear. They argued that the Tribe has sole authority over what the theme should be, and that those who try to control it are violating their rights. Some students went as far as researching Supreme Court cases that they believed supported their arguments, even though they are incorrect. In the case many students have been talking about and tweeting; Tinker v. DesMoines, students during the Vietnam War wore black armbands to school in protest of the war overseas. The administration of the school told students that if they participated in the act of wearing armbands, they would be suspended. The school was eventually sued and the Supreme Court ruled that students do not lose their First Amendment right when they walk onto a school campus; however as justification for the suppression of their free speech, administration must be able to prove that the conduct would “materially and substantially interfere” with the operation of the school, In this case… The Tribe is doing just that.
They have interrupted the educational process by changing the day-to-day classroom environment. In classrooms across campus, conversations have been started regarding this conflict. Teachers, especially in senior-level classes, have had to set aside time during class because debates and arguments have risen regarding the student section’s apparel. In place of lectures and classwork, teachers have had to address the controversy surrounding the theme.
The new theme is “Orange Out,” the school’s colors.
When it comes to disagreement with the administration’s decision, the paper’s editorial board advised, “In regards to the constant need of some students to defy administration and authority, it is time to grow up.”
The two schools have a longstanding rivalry that, as described by the paper, has led to problems at sporting events in the past. “Most recently, students of both schools and even a Corona security guard were pepper sprayed by police after conflicts escalated and led to hostile confrontations after a basketball game in early 2013.”