'Brown pride' cultural symbol or gang sign divides students, school officials

A video that has gone viral has exposed a clash between students and school officials in Idaho over whether the term “brown pride” is a symbol of cultural pride or a sign of

gang affiliation. A video viewed by more than 1.6 million people on TikTok and later shared on other platforms shows students at Caldwell High School in Idaho protesting

for the right to wear culturally significant clothing items with features like the words “brown pride.” In the video, Latina high school student Brenda Hernandez says

school officials told her to remove her “brown pride” hoodie, as it can be deemed racist and akin to wearing a "white pride" shirt.  Hernandez, a senior, said in a phone

interview that the Jan. 17 protest followed an incident in early December. She was sitting in her fifth-period economics class when she was called into the principal’s office and

escorted there by a school staff member. Hernandez said she had no reason to suspect she would be in trouble. She said the staff member informed her the visit was due to her

hoodie. “He was telling me: 'You can’t wear it, because it has ‘brown pride’ on it. It’s like wearing a white pride shirt. People can find it racist,'” she

said. Hernandez said the principal described the clothing item as gang-related and she received a dress code violation. Caldwell High School’s dress code policy

prohibits the “wearing, using, carrying, or displaying any other gang clothing or attire, or style, jewelry, emblem, badge, symbol, sign, codes, tattoos, or other things or items

which evidence membership or affiliation in any gang is prohibited on any school premises or at any school sponsored activity at any time."