Jennifer Farris is one of the mothers who says her child was disciplined for wearing MAGA hats and pro-Trump gear at Perry High School. The principal, Dan Serrano, disputed the claim and said they were being disciplined for causing a disruption. The students say this is not the case. Now, AZ Central reported that a video with racial slurs was filmed at Farris’ home, but she says the video was filmed without her knowledge. The photo above is one that Jennifer Farris shared on Facebook the day she posted about what happened. Here is what we know so far about Jennifer Farris and what has happened.
1. Jennifer Farris Wrote on Facebook that the Students Wore MAGA Hats for ‘Party in the USA’ Day & Were Told To Remove Them. One Student Was Suspended.
On Friday, March 1, Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona had a spirit day called “Party in the USA.” A group of students wore MAGA hats and other pro-Trump gear, including a Trump flag, for the event, AZ Central reported. One mother, Heidi Jones, said the students were asked by administrators to remove their MAGA gear around lunchtime, and they did.
Jennifer Farris, whose daughter Tori Farris was also involved, got a lot of attention when she posted what happened on Facebook. She confirmed with AZ Centraal that assistant principals were asking students to remove pro-Trump gear. Farris wrote on Facebook:
Wow. Today was USA Day at Perry High School. A bunch of kids wore things that said Make America Great Again hats, shirts and brought banners. ALL those kids were asked to leave school property!!! When the kids said no and defended themselves saying they were allowed to wear things to support their PRESIDENT the kids were SUSPENDED for 10 DAYS!!! Channel 3 and 5 are on their way to do a story it but please help support these kids and spread this information .. we can’t let our kids be censured this way!!!
The post she made is no longer visible. Farris either took it down or changed the privacy settings. She appears to have changed much of her Facebook profile and now only a few photos are visible publicly.
AZ Family noted that at least eight students were brought to the office because of their MAGA clothing. One student was suspended and the others faced disciplinary measures. Tori Farris said the student was suspended for 10 days, but the school did not confirm the length of the suspension due to privacy issues.
Heidi Jones told AZ Central that it was her daughter, Logan Jones, who was suspended after school let out that Friday. She said the students were taking pictures in their gear after school when they noticed a police resource officer was taking photos of them. The resource officer asked Logan for her name, but she refused to answer any questions until her mom was with her. She was taken to the administrators’ office. Heidi Jones said that when she arrived at the school, she was told that her daughter Logan had been suspended for 10 days. Logan said she was suspended for being “defiant.”
Terry Locke, a spokesperson for the school, confirmed with AZ Central that one student was suspended but said it wasn’t about MAGA clothing. The school district later said that the students were asked to remove MAGA clothing in order to de-escalate a verbal confrontation, 12 News reported.
2. The Principal Said They Were Disciplined for Being Disruptive, Not Because of What They Wore
Jennifer Farris shared the above video with AZ Central, which shows her and the Perry High School principal, Dan Serrano, talking about what happened.
Her daughter Tori told AZ Family that the police officer approached them while they were taking pictures and said: “We would like you to take off the merchandise and get off the campus.” When they asked “why” and started leaving the campus, he started taking photos and asked them to come the office.
Serrano said in a written statement that students were not disciplined for expressing political viewpoints or wearing political attire, AZ Central shared. He said the political signs were causing a disruption and creating a safety concern at lunch on Friday. They students complied when they were asked to put their gear away, but they brought it back out after school was over to take pictures.
Serrano said the students did not agree to leave the campus when asked, but the students say they immediately began to leave. He said they also refused to give him their names, and that’s why they were disciplined.
However, Jennifer Farris had a different perspective. She shared the above video with AZ Central, showing Serrano telling her and Tori that carrying a flag around was disrespectful to the flag. But a spokesman said this was about the interactions the flag was causing, not the flag itself.
Rep. Kelly Townsend, who is the state representative for Arizona LD 16, saw the video and shared a transcript on Facebook. She wrote: “What gets lost in the heat of the argument is the fact that they were requiring her to leave the campus because they had a Trump flag and they thought it was against etiquette and disrespectful according to their own words. That is not a legitimate reason to make a child leave the campus school grounds.”
The transcript she shared shows Serrano saying it was disrespectful to carry the flag around. “Go read the etiquette. I have a kid in the arm.” The mom responded, “I have a kid in the military.” And he said, “OK, good. And you can leave… She’s not in trouble. She’s the one that called you because they took a picture of her because they wouldn’t leave…”
3. Farris Said She Was Told To Leave the School Property, But She & Administrators Dispute the Reason Why
Farris told AZ Central that she came to the school when she found out her daughter was being asked to remove her MAGA gear. She said that as soon as she arrived and they realized she was there for her daughter, she was told to leave the school property and not come back. Farris said she believes the backlash was because the faculty didn’t agree with the students’ beliefs and message.
The Chandler Unified School District, meanwhile, said in an email on Monday that Jennifer Farris was asked to leave because she yelled and cursed in the administrative office, 12 News reported. The district wrote, in part:
When the parent at issue arrived at the Perry High School office, she screamed, yelled and used profanity, including the “F” word in the presence of students and staff. Her conduct did not meet expectations for public conduct on school property, as set forth in Policy KFA, “Public Conduct on School Property” and otherwise.
When the parent would not cease her screaming, yelling and cursing, Mr. Serrano asked her to leave. She refused to do so. At that point, Mr. Serrano told the parent that he was trespassing her, which meant that he was directing her (rather than requesting her) to leave the campus. He did not tell her that she was trespassing when she arrived at the school.
But Farris disputes that report. She showed an extended version of her video to 12 News, which she asked not to be shown publicly so that students’ privacy could be maintained. The longer version records her while she leaves her car, walks into the office, and talks with the students and staff. 12 News said she never screamed or cursed on that longer video. When asked, a district spokesperson simply said that they considered the matter closed.
4. A Video with Racial Slurs Was Filmed at Jennifer Farris’ Home & Surfaced on MLK Weekend Last Year
Farris has had issues with the school district before, 12 News reported. In January 2018, a video showed middle school students from San Tan Junior High yelling racial slurs, including the “N” word, while singing along with a rap song. The video was recorded at Farris’ home. Arizona Family shared the video but said the words were so offensive, they couldn’t use the audio in the news report. Their news report is in the video above.
The school district said in a statement that the video showed students singing a rap song by Rah Digga and Young Zee, 12 News reported at the time. But one parent, Geoffrey Mobisson, disputed the district’s statement. He told 12 News that the song in the video doesn’t sound like the song the district referenced. He said it took him a quick Google search to identify the song the students were singing as one by a well-known white supremacist. Raw Story said the video was a racist parody of a rap song. The video surfaced during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
12 News said the district told them at first that the situation was “under review” and then later said the students’ actions didn’t fall under its jurisdiction. AZ Central reported that the school decided not to take any disciplinary action based on the video because it happened off campus. Parents were concerned, saying the video was a form of cyberbullying, and tried unsuccessfully to convince the school board to take action.
Farris told 12 News about the video: “Ummm, yeah it was [at our house]. There was a party that the kids had and there was some stuff that went on, but the way that all got twisted around and portrayed was definitely not – we didn’t agree with how it happened because it got twisted around and made me realize the media only tells one side of the story.”
Farris said she wasn’t home when the video was filmed and her children weren’t involved, Raw Story reported.
5. Republicans in the Arizona House Are Asking the State’s Attorney General To Review Possible Free Speech Violations
The district said in a statement about the incident, in part:
Students were not asked to put away Trump gear. The Administration only asked that the banner be put away when the students engaged in a verbal altercation and the administration was concerned that it would escalate…
…As has been previously shared, no student has been disciplined for wearing Trump or Trump related clothing or for expressing their political views. Under federal and state laws, as well as the District’s Governing Board Policies, Administrative Regulations and the rules set forth in the Student Handbook, students may be lawfully expected to:
-Refrain from conduct that causes or is likely to cause a material and substantial disruption or interference with the orderly operation of the school or school activities.
-Comply with the lawful directions of District officials or any other law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties, and to identify themselves to such officials or officers when lawfully requested to do so.
Now Republicans in the Arizona House are asking the attorney general to look into possible free speech violations, AZ Family reported.
Townsend shared on Facebook the letter sent to the Attorney general. You can read the letter at the top of this section.