Public schools

High School Bans Pro-Trump Stuff and American Flags! Except No, It Absolutely Did Not

School says feel free to bring your "make America great again" hats.

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Donald Trump
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A Tempe, Arizona, high school—Corona del Sol—is prohibiting students from bringing American flags or wearing Donald Trump swag to its rivalry football game on Friday. That's according to Breitbart, The Daily Caller, The Blaze, and other right-leaning outlets.

But the only source of info on the ban appeared to be the high school newspaper. Skeptical, I called the school district that oversees Corona del Sol, and a spokesperson told me that in fact, the stories were completely untrue.

"There is no ban on colors or flags or Mr .Trump or any other signs of patriotism," said Jill Hanks, executive director of community relations at the Tempe United school district.

According to Hanks, when Corona del Sol last played this particular rival football team—almost a decade ago—some students behaved immaturely and racially disparaged players on the other side. Seeking to avoid any controversy, and in response to rogue students insisting on Twitter that the theme of the game was "USA," Corona del Sol sent a letter home to parents stressing that the only theme was "orange," the school's color.

That message was not intended to prevent students from wearing other colors, bringing American flags, or representing Donald Trump, said Hanks. The school's newspaper misinterpreted the statement, and published incorrect information about the policy. The erroneous story and Tweets have since been deleted.

The Supreme Court has placed stricter limits on high school students' speech than on college students' speech, and administrators are likely well-within their rights to discipline students who misbehave or hurl ethnic insults. A school attempting to prevent any misbehavior from breaking out by proactively forbidding certain kinds of otherwise inoffensive expression is in murkier territory; according to the Court's ruling in the 1969 case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, schools must demonstrate that said speech is substantially disruptive on its own.

But the point is moot in this specific case, because contrary to the reports, Corona del Sol has not prohibited students from bringing their "make American great again" hats to the big game.