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Some Valley school districts now banning RedforEd clothing

Posted at 3:10 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-12 18:30:07-04

Several Valley school districts have now told teachers they are not allowed to wear RedforEd shirts, or display any other messaging from the recent movement while on campus.

Many school districts have sent letters to staff members that point to RedforEd leaders now focusing on passing the Invest in Education Act, which advocates say would bring an estimated $689 million annual investment in public education.

This letter was sent to staff of the Chandler Unified School District. 

“Now that the proposition appears to be headed to a ballot measure, individuals may not wear shirts, use signs, or engage in other promotional activities at school to advocate for the proposition. With the potential election measure on the horizon, the actions could be construed as attempts to influence the outcome of that initiative. Your private vehicle, as long as it is decorated off campus and not using public resources, is allowed since it is not a public resource.”

The Kyrene Elementary School District posted a similar message on their website recently.

Both districts say staff members are allowed to wear red colored clothing, but not items that state “#RedforEd”.

The Phoenix Union High School District says they have not communicated any guidelines to employees regarding #RedforEd clothing.

PUHSD sent out the following statement to ABC15:

"ARS 15-511 sets guidelines for what school districts can and cannot do to influence the outcome of elections.  Prohibited activities include campaign signs, political buttons, t-shirts, etc.   Elections have different restrictions than legislative advocacy…the question that Districts are grappling with is whether RedforEd advocacy means endorsing an election. "Save our Schools" and "Invest in Education" are referendum ballot initiatives for the November election. It is probably a question for the lawyers. We have not communicated anything to employees or parents at this time."

Other districts, like Tempe Union High School District, have told teachers that while it's not "banned", they recommend teachers not wear RedforEd shirts to protect each staff member from personal liability if someone were to file a complaint.

Arizona Education Association president Joe Thomas says they're aware of about 10 districts that have offered guidance, warnings or bans of the #RedforEd shirts.

The Phoenix New Times also said that the Buckeye Elementary School District has told teachers that RedforEd clothing is prohibited. We've reached out to those districts, as well as other Valley districts, to find out what their policies are.