Student declining to remove bandana escorted by police from Apache Junction High School

The Aug. 10 post by Apache Junction Unified School District at www.facebook.com/ajusd43 included a “fact/myth” graphic.

Apache Junction Police Department officers escorted a teenager from Apache Junction High School Aug. 10 after he allegedly refused to remove a bandana from his head, according to a youtube video and a letter from the district. The video can be seen by searching for “Apache Junction High School” at youtube.com with a filter of “this week.”

The student was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, Rob McDaniel, AJPD’s community resource coordinator, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

The high school is at 2525 S. Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction.

The Apache Junction Unified School District posted on its Facebook page @ajusd43 that “a letter went out to parents today regarding an incident at the high school.”

In it, Dr. Angela Chomokos, AJHS principal, states, “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.”

“At AJHS we do not condone the disorderly/defiant behavior and will take the necessary disciplinary and legal action to discourage it from happening,” she wrote.

“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,” she wrote.

The full letter as posted on the district’s Facebook page states:

August 10, 2018

Dear AJHS Students and Parents/Guardians,

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.

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.

Sincerely,
Angela Chomokos, Ph.D.
Dr. Angela Chomokos
achomoko@goaj.org

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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