One of the enduring experiences of any high school in any state in any city in any decade is some students are just plain jerks. And it appears that some students from Aliso Niguel High School sullied the school’s 17-year tradition of a Red-White-Blue game, originally created to promote patriotism in the wake of 9/11, to politicize a football game against Santa Ana High School. There were some “Trump” references in signs at the game, and some witnesses says “build a wall” was yelled from the stands.
There are some bad feelings on both sides of the social media spectrum from outraged Santa Ana families to Aliso Viejo parents who either defend their student body or apologize for the behavior. Are some ANHS students jerks? Yes, but not all of them. And you can say this about any high school in America.
Today’s Los Angeles Times has a remarkably-balanced story on the game and it’s aftermath on Page 1. You can read it here.
From the story:
The disputed incidents occurred at Friday night’s contest between Aliso Niguel and Santa Ana high schools, during which Santa Ana Principal Jeff Bishop became upset by what he saw as racially tinged intimidation by Aliso Niguel students.
In Facebook posts after the game, Bishop described signs expressing support for President Trump and proclaiming “We love White” and “Build the Wall,” a reference to Trump’s pledge to build a barrier along the border between the United States and Mexico.
“This is no different than our national discourse, but this is one principal who is not going to stand for it,” Bishop told The Times on Sunday.
“It would have been easy to blame the racist welcome the ‘Saints’ received as they walked into the stadium and read the posters referencing — Trump, ‘We love White,’ ‘Build the Wall’ and various other politically and racially-charged statements,” he posted after the game. “What I love about OUR coach is that at no time did he allow this unchristian hate from the Wolverine stands affect HIS team.”
Bishop said later that he saw some of the offensive signs and was told by others about insensitive or racially tinged chants and taunting.
He became more concerned, he posted, when he heard chants of “USA! USA!” following touchdowns by the Aliso Niguel team.
Aliso Niguel “was not playing against Germany or MEXICO. They were playing my kids, 22 minutes down the freeway,” he wrote.
The Aliso Niguel principal, Deni Christensen, declined to be interviewed Sunday but told the Orange County Register that the flag theme was intended to honor the anniversary of 9/11.
An Instagram post on @anhswolverines, which is affiliated with the school, urges fans to wear red, white and blue but does not mention the Sept. 11 commemoration.
Christensen also told the Register that her staff removed three signs. One read, “We’re going to Trump you,” while another said, “Trump 2020.” A third sign read, “Bring back Obama,” she said.
Her administrators did not see a “Build the Wall” sign, “but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there were students in the parking lot with signs we did not see,” Christensen said.
What hasn’t been reported, and I apologize for burying the lede here, is that Aliso Viejo Mayor and candidate for re-election Dave Harrington violated the policies of Aliso Niguel High School and was openly campaigning for re-election on school grounds. Harrington, the leader of Aliso Viejo’s efforts to thwart state law on sanctuary city status and a pro-Trump conservative, apparently purchased a booth through the high school’s football booster club and thought that entitled him to campaign for office at the game.
He should know better.
Here’s a copy of the district policy:http://capousd-ca.schoolloop.com/file/1218998819331/1218998864154/7739772056801303012.pdf
Community Relations BP 1325(a)
ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION
Distribution of Materials
The Board of Trustees desires to avoid the cost and disruption inherent in the distribution of non-District-related promotional materials, and to limit student exposure to advertisements and promotional materials generally referred to as “flyers” to those that are related to school-sponsored activities or activities sponsored by groups affiliated with the District. Therefore, in order to maintain a closed forum regarding the distribution of advertisements, flyers, and other forms of solicitation by groups or individuals not affiliated with the District, the distribution of these materials will not be permitted.
The Superintendent or designee may approve the distribution of printed materials to students if the materials are prepared by District-related organizations, extend the community’s cultural, recreational, artistic, or educational opportunities, and do not promote any particular commercial, religious, or political interest.
District-affiliated organizations are parent-teacher groups, education foundations, booster clubs, and other organizations that have been authorized per Board Policy. Organizations may request promotional consideration pertaining only to the scope of their agreement with the District.
The schools shall not distribute partisan materials pertaining to a candidate, party, or statewide ballot measure. However, materials prepared by District-related organizations may be distributed to announce public forums in which all candidates or sides of an issue are invited to participate.
Products and informational materials donated by commercial enterprises may be used in the classroom as long as they serve an educational purpose and do not unduly promote any commercial activity or products. Such materials may bear the name or logo of the donor. The use of such materials does not imply District endorsement of any identified commercial products or services.
Advertising copy may be solicited and prepared only to the extent that this process furthers the educational well-being of the students involved. Excessive solicitation of the same sources shall be avoided. Students shall not be exploited to raise money, and time spent securing ads shall not infringe upon the school program.
School-sponsored publications shall serve as a learning experience and are not intended to serve as a public forum. The District may prohibit advertisements which are inconsistent with school objectives or do not reasonably relate to the educational purpose of school-sponsored publications.
35160 Authority of governing boards
35172 Promotional activities
40040-40047 Civic Center Act
48907 Student exercise of free expression
BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE
25664 Advertisements encouraging minors to drink
Bright v. Los Angeles Unified School District (1976) 134 Cal. Rptr. 639, 556 P. 2d 1090, 18 C. 3d 450
Citizens Legal Defense Alliance, Inc., Jarvis v. Miller et al, Los Angeles Unified School District, Super. Ct. Los Angeles County, 1978, No. C 230935
Policy CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Adopted: October 2, 1995 San Juan Capistrano, California
Revised: March 8, 2011
Revised: September 24, 2014
A parent who supports Democratic council candidate Tiffany Ackley saw Harrington inside the stadium with signs and sought out the school’s principal to say Harrington can’t do this and if he’s allowed to do so, the parent would be back with a stack of Ackley for City Council literature. After checking district policy, the principal informed Harrington that the signs had to go. A witness tells TheLiberalOC that Harrington was agitated and was escorted out of the stadium by law enforcement providing security at the event.
Harrington is openly campaigning on keeping the county red and how he won’t work with Democrats if re-elected.
Everyone ought to keep politics out of high school sports and candidates should know better not to campaign on public school grounds.