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Dress code, freedom of speech, and politics...tensions boil over at Shadow Ridge High School

Parties unhappy with school administration
Tensions boil over at Shadow Ridge High School
Tensions boil over at Shadow Ridge High School
Tensions boil over at Shadow Ridge High School
Tensions boil over at Shadow Ridge High School
Posted at 7:34 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 03:25:49-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Disruptions, allegations, and disputes have made for a messy day at one Las Vegas high school.

The tension at Shadow Ridge High School combines dress code, freedom of speech, and even politics. It's pretty clear that the things we saw our country going through in a divisive 2020 seem to have trickled down to at least this high school.

13 Action News repeatedly asked the school and the Clark County School District to weigh in on what happened Thursday and over the past couple of days, but nobody has replied. So this is what 13 Action News gathered from students and parents.

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“Two days ago, I was recently RPC'd for having a MAGA hat, not even on my head, on my backpack,” said a Shadow Ridge student in a video shared with 13 Action News.

Two students tell 13 Action News that was the incident that set off a chain reaction at several valley high schools. They say school administrators at Shadow Ridge High told that student his Trump-related hat had to go. He says he was wearing it on his backpack.

School district policy is a little vague but says in part, “slogans or advertising on clothing, jewelry, buttons, which by their controversial nature disrupt the educational setting, are prohibited.”

The student says he complied and put the hat away, but when an administrator allegedly took the hat and folded it up, he and his peers say that crossed the line.

"In the rules, we're not allowed to wear hats. They tell us to take it off, we just take it off, whatever. The only way they can take it is if we put it back on again and disrespect them," said a Shadow Ridge student who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

"But he took it off and put it away," the student continued. "And the principal didn't take it, he ripped it off his backpack, and then proceeded to fold it up and cracked the brim, broke the brim of the hat, and rolled it into a ball."

That student says last night, he and a group of his peers organized a truck rally in response to the incident, driving to nearby high schools donning the red, white and blue. Organizers say it was to show support for the American flag. Some participants wore political apparel and others reported seeing Confederate flags.

Tensions skyrocketed and on Thursday, they reportedly boiled over into a fight at Shadow Ridge. CCSD police were called in.

So where do schools draw the dress code fine line? What’s political, what’s freedom of speech and where does school policy fall in any of this?

Again, without comment from the CCSD, we lean on the district's published policy.

"The American flag shall be accorded a respect befitting the loyalty and gratitude to the United States of America of all who enjoys its benefits," reads CCSD's American flag policy.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who knows. But some parents are fired up.

"I am so ashamed of Clark County School District picking and choosing and segregating. They are initially segregating any group, any country kid to hip hop. The school is helping drive the division of these kids. They're supposed to be educators, they're supposed to be support, they're supposed to be leaders to a point that they're not dictators and I'm absolutely appalled," one Shadow Ridge parent told 13 Action News.

13 Action News also spoke with two female students who say this all started over Shadow Ridge administrators unfairly policing the dress code for girls, targeting short skirts and spaghetti strap shirts.

That's multiple groups who feel Shadow Ridge High School is not fairly policing the dress policy. Both parties acknowledged that a school uniform may be the only solution.