GILBERT — Perry High School officials agreed Wednesday to allow Logan Jones, a student who was suspended after she wore “Make America Great Again” attire, to return to school after Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter on behalf of the student to Principal Dan Serrano.
However, the school’s legal counsel said the suspension Jones received will not be removed from her record, Alliance Defending Freedom said in a statement.
Last week, 27 members of the House Republican Caucus signed a letter asking Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate possible free speech violations at the high school.
“Given that the free speech of all U.S. citizens is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the United State 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,” the Republican House members stated in the letter.
In a press release, Alliance Defending Freedom noted that the refusal to remove the suspension is a “problem likely to prolong the controversy.”
“Public schools have a duty to respect the legitimate free expression of students that the First Amendment guarantees to them,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom.
“While it’s good that the school is allowing Logan to return to school, it isn’t acceptable that this unjust suspension will remain on her record. As we continue discussions with the school, we are also consulting with Logan and her mother to determine what our next steps will be if the school doesn’t do the right thing and remove the suspension.”
The school suspended Jones when she and a friend wore MAGA sweatshirts and displayed a pro-Trump MAGA banner after school hours on “Party in the USA Day,” which took place Friday, March 1, as part of the school’s Spirit Week.
The two stood in an outdoor common area of campus when a school resource officer approached them and ordered them to leave, telling them that they could take any questions they had to Vice Principal Heather Patterson.
The students complied with the officer’s order and began to pack up and leave campus, but the officer reportedly followed and photographed them.
He then asked Jones for her name, and she questioned why he needed it since they were leaving. The officer then ordered Jones to speak with Patterson, and she complied.
On the way to Patterson’s office, Jones phoned her mother, who told Jones not to say anything more until she arrived. After she arrived within 10 minutes, Patterson spoke directly with Jones’s mother, but after several more minutes, Principal Dan Serrano came out of his office.
Serrano then said: “I am tired of hearing this. Logan Jones you are suspended for 10 days. Get off of school property.”
The organization representing Logan said school officials have not been truthful in reporting on what occurred.
“The alleged reason given for Logan’s suspension was that she had failed to identify herself when asked by school officials. However, the evidence is clear that this reason was mere pretext,” the ADF letter to Serrano said. “Contrary to the stated reason, there is ample evidence to establish that you imposed the suspension against Logan based on a disagreement with the viewpoint of Logan’s message.
“Multiple videos demonstrate the hostility that School officials displayed towards the messages expressing support for President Trump and his MAGA slogan. And it is our understanding that other students have been punished as well for expressing similar viewpoints. This blatant censorship of Logan’s speech violates the First Amendment.”