PERRYTON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Controversy sparked in Perryton after the high school’s pep rally last week when a few students flew Mexican flags, which caused some in the community to speculate on the motive.
Dr. Tim Little, the superintendent of Perryton ISD, explained the students were simply celebrating their heritage and expressing themselves.
The day before the rally was Dress Internationally Day. Students were encouraged to dress in a fashion that reflected and celebrated both cultural diversity and individual heritage. The weeks before, the school celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, which began September 15.
Dr. Little told MyHighPlains.com the students were just excited to show their heritage and had no ill-intent.
“Certainly the kids didn’t do anything wrong, they were just having some self-expression, and you know, I’ve been told several times this week, ‘This is America, we have a Bill of Rights, and a First Amendment,’ and absolutely we do,” said Dr. Little. “It’s pretty clear in education, the First Amendment, we don’t give up those rights just because you’re in a public school.”
Dr. Little added the school wants kids to be able to express themselves and expects them to do it appropriately, meaning not interrupting classes.
Dr. Little said some people were concerned it would carry over to the football game that night, so the district issued a press release in the hope that all of the focus would be on the game itself.
Going forward, Dr. Little said he hopes if people still have an issue with what happened, they address the board directly and discuss it calmly.
Dr. Little added the mission of Perryton ISD is to educate and support all children and it is contrary to that mission to be pulled into a political discussion.