UPDATED: South Pasadena High School Dress Code Does Not Trump Good Judgment

When Wearing a 'Flag' as a Cape With an AR-15 Firearm Silhouette Graphic & 'Come And Take It' Text Gets A Student Brought into The Principal's Office for Questioning.

South Pasadena High School

UPDATED: May 11, 2018 | South Pasadena Unified School District Statement

Student Incident on May 2, 2018

On May 2, 2018, a student walked around the South Pasadena High School campus wearing a cape picturing a semi-automatic rifle.

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At South Pasadena Unified School District, student safety is our primary concern. Anytime a symbol is presented on campus that could potentially intimidate or scare people, administrators will investigate. If the symbol or activity disrupts the educational process for other students, then the student(s) involved will be called in to discuss the matter.

During this incident, SPHS school procedures and education code were followed. The student proceeded with a planned march, which had been discussed with the administration over the course of several months, and he chose to remove the cape for the remainder of the school day. Upon request, the student voluntarily turned in his phone, which was not searched by administrators. The student made a recording on a different device without the knowledge or consent of administrators.


A South Pasadena High School Student wears an AR-15 silhouette graphic flag on his back during break-time at school and is then brought into principal’s office for questioning.

The information in this news report is summarized from a recording made by the student during the interaction.  We are investigating more facts from SPUSD at this time.

A South Pasadena High School student was seen wearing a flag draped over the shoulders like a small cape with a graphic that depicted what looked to be an AR-15 silhouette and text that said ‘Come and Take It’.  The student was brought into the principal’s office for questioning.

CORRECTED via SPUSD STATEMENT: Upon request, the student voluntarily turned in his phone, which was not searched by administrators. The student made a recording on a different device without the knowledge or consent of administrators.

ORIGINAL REPORT: The student recorded the entire interaction from his cell phone in his pocket.  It can be heard in the recording that the student answered honestly about having the phone in the pants pocket when asked by administrators. The recording abruptly ended at this point. It’s unclear at this time what happened after that.  SPHS Principal Anderson was not available for an interview at the time of this report.

The reason the student gave to the high school principal and other administrators was to show support for second amendment gun rights.

While it was apparent from the recording that the principal and other administrators did not agree with the student’s protest and 2nd amendment support method, the student was released back to school activities after a few words of advice.

The main argument the school administrator cited was the SPHS dress code: “…intrude upon the rights of others to a comfortable school setting.”  and Those bearing connotations of violence.” The student did not agree.  The flag was not taken away and the student was allowed to return to class under the condition that the flag/cape would not be worn during any instructional time.


The South Pasadena High School Dress Code is designed to ensure a focused learning environment on campus that fosters physical cleanliness and mutual respect amongst students and staff. Self-expression in dress is encouraged on campus but must be limited where it may intrude upon the rights of others to a comfortable school setting. The Code is also designed to present a consistent image of South Pasadena High School as a place of learning.

What must be covered:

Range of skin from the armpit to The Bottom Line (see definition)

The Bottom Line: A hand’s length below the bottom of the buttocks

When the body is standing straight, clothing (any combination of tops and bottoms) must extend from armpit level to the Bottom Line, front and back. No skin must been seen within this range. Bare midriffs are prohibited. Sheer clothing must be worn accordingly:

  • No underwear may be visible, including but not limited to boxers, briefs, bras and bra straps, panties, thongs.
  • Underwear must be worn.
  • Skirts must extend half of the length between the hips and the knees.
  • No bare feet are allowed.

Prohibited items of clothing:

  • Strapless tops.
  • Hats, bandanas, visors, hoods, beanies, berets and caps inside buildings.
  • Clothing or accessories that may be construed as a weapon, including but not limited to chains, and spiked bands.
  • Those bearing derogatory messages or images (racial, ethnic, religious, gender or sexual slurs).
  • Those bearing sexual suggestions.
  • Those bearing connotations of violence.
  • Those bearing connotations of drugs or alcohol.
  • Those bearing profanity.
  • Those bearing gang-affiliated symbols.

Where the Dress Code is in effect:

  • On campus during school hours.
  • At all school functions (e.g. football games, Ice Breaker Dance, etc.) with the exceptions of the two formal dances, the Winter Formal and the Prom.

Dress requirements for formal dances will vary slightly from the school dress code. Student dress violations at all other functions will result in denied access.

Penalties for violations:

Students are expected to know the provisions of the Dress Code. Therefore violators will be subject to the following progression of penalties without previous warning:

  1. On the first and every offense: The dress code violation will become part of the student’s record. The student will be assigned loaner clothes from the Student Services Office (see Loaner Policy) unless he/she can supply appropriate cover-up clothing or notify a parent to bring clothing.
  2. On the second offense and every repeated offense thereafter:          

The student is assigned Saturday School (4 Hours) and the student’s parents are notified by the Student Services Office.

Loaner Policy: Loaner clothes must be returned to Student Services by 8:00 am the following school day. Clothes must be washed before being returned. If a student fails to return the clothes, he/she will be assigned Saturday School.



  1. When I was here at South Pasadena High School I was forever getting sent Home to Change my Dress or being Expelled. I Gather that the Dress Code had Hopefully Relaxed a Bit But see that is still an Issue.. My Education was Hampered by the Fact that the Dress Code had Nothing to do with Education But Rather Power by Faculty that had Nothing better to do than Power Trip on the Students.. Student from 1965 to 1967…