Apache Junction police arrested four students after one of them refused to take off a blue bandana.
The school district sent a letter home to parents after the incident, explaining that the problem was that the student was not complying with a "reasonable request."
"She told me, 'if you don't take it off, I will call the police and have you arrested,'" Valentino Jimenez explained. "I was like, 'well if the first thing you think of is to call the police then you might as well just do that because it must be that urgent for you to call the police, I must be making such a big scene that you need to call the police so go ahead,' and then I walked away from her."
Jimenez, a senior at AJHS, said that he wears a bandana almost every day and has never had a problem.
"I wear my bandana because it's an extension of me," Jimenez said.
Part of the letter to AJHS parents said, "The refusal to respond to a reasonable request escalated to a point where some students were confusing the wearing of the bandana with defiance and disorderly behavior."
Other students captured the encounter between Jimenez and a DARE officer on their cell phones. The video shows the student questioning why his bandana is a problem.
"The officer came up to me and wanted to have a talk with me, he asked me about the bandana and I said, 'what's wrong with it?' He said, 'the color.' I said, 'what do you mean? That kid's wearing a bandana.' He says, 'that's the American flag.' I said, 'what's the difference?' She told me we can't wear bandanas at all," Jimenez explained.
The Apache Junction Police Department said that Jimenez refused and challenged the officer, becoming more disruptive and then was taken into custody as he continued to be noncompliant and abusive.
"I could've took (sic) off the bandana, I really could've. But at the end of the day, they tried to tell me I couldn't be me, knowing damn well I wear that bandana all the time," Jimenez said. "It was kind of humiliating if you think about it, in front of everybody, me getting arrested and they try to make it look like I did something so bad, you know?"
Three other students were taken into custody for disrupting an educational institution, disorderly conduct and drug paraphernalia. All four will be referred to the Pinal County Juvenile Courts.
The letter sent home to AJHS parents is as follows:
I am writing to inform you of an incident that occurred on campus today. As our partner in education, it’s important for you to have factual information regarding this situation. Unfortunately, some of our students became disorderly and disrespectful during lunch, which disrupted normal campus operations. While we did have some disorderly students who became emotionally charged, the bulk of our students remained focused and proceeded to class. Our regular DARE officer and two other police officers from the Apache Junction Police Department assisted with the situation and aided the administration in removing the disorderly students and encouraging others to go to class. I assure you that this type of behavior is not typical of our students or community. We have purposeful and focused students who show a great deal of pride in their school and their peers.
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
The incident began when a student was instructed by an administrator to remove a bandana used as a headband. The refusal to respond to a reasonable request escalated to a point where some students were confusing the wearing of the bandana with defiance and disorderly behavior. This particular situation became escalated when students posted videos on social media sites. Unfortunately, young adults are sometimes drawn to observe or engage in a conflict where they are not involved; which is what happened to some of our students today. With that said, I was indeed proud of many of our students who went to class and continued their learning, to quote a student, “I am not letting this interfere with my education.”
At AJHS we do not condone the disorderly/defiant behavior and will take the necessary disciplinary and legal action to discourage it from happening. Maintaining a safe-school setting conducive to learning is our top priority. AJHS continues to provide our students with a caring and inclusive educational experience that fosters academic excellence, social and emotional development, in a safe and orderly environment.
We hope that you will discuss appropriate school behaviors with your son/daughter throughout the year, and remind them of the behavioral expectations of all AJHS students. We appreciate your efforts in helping maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for all students.
Please feel free to contact your son/daughter’s grade-level administrator or me if you have questions or concerns.
Angela Chomokos, Ph.D.
Dr. Angela Chomokos