Arizona Student Fights Against Wearing 'Scarlet Badge' In School

Published: Thursday, January 3, 2019 - 12:58pm
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Jordan Pickett is in her third year at Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood. And she wants to blend in with the rest of the junior class, but every day when she goes to school, she feels embarrassed by something that she has to wear: a red badge.

Every student at the school has to wear a badge; that’s not the problem for Jordan. What she doesn’t like is that her badge is red, while the standard color for the junior and senior classes is gray. The red is used for freshman and sophomores.

The school says this is just for staff to keep track of students. Those with gray badges can go off campus during lunch; students with red badges don’t have that privilege.

The school says Jordan simply doesn’t have enough credits to be a junior — she’s behind academically. So, red badge.

They argue there’s nothing wrong with that. But Jordan and her mother see it differently. Last month, they reached out to the ACLU of Arizona.

The Show spoke with their attorney, Kathleen Brody, who argues the red badge is actually in violation of federal law.

We also reached out to the Mingus Union High School District about this. Their attorney sent us the letter they sent in response to the ACLU. It says that, under FERPA, a student’s grade level is considered public information that may be disclosed unless parents opt out. The district also plans to send out a letter reminding parents of their options to opt out.

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