Cottonwood high school to end ‘scarlet badge’ policy




Jordan Pickett's red badge, which is at the center of the controversy. Photo by ACLU of Arizona

Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood has changed its student ID policy that some claimed was discriminatory.

The school last year implemented a color-coded badge policy for security purposes.

Upperclassmen got gray badges with their grade number on it and underclassmen got red badges. The aim was to allow security and staff to know which students are allowed off campus during lunch and which are not.

But some juniors and seniors who had fallen behind academically and were missing credits were being given red badges.

Now, the school is giving red badges to everyone.

“I like this new policy and I approve of it,” Jonah Ray, a student who had voiced his concerns over the previous policy said to the Mirror. “Instead of feeling like everyone is better than me, I feel more like a team instead of a singled-out individual.”

Jennifer Lansman, the mother of Jordan Pickett, a student who brought the issue to the attention of the ACLU, said she is happy for the quick resolution.

“I think it’s good, I think it will work,” Lansman said, adding that the new policy means unnecessary information won’t be displayed on student badges allowing them to be singled out.

The school’s attorney, who had defended the school’s badge policy in a letter to the ACLU, did not return a call for comment. The principal of the school also could not be reached.

The new policy, which was tweeted out by the ACLU, states, “all students will now have the same color Student ID.”


Students at the school are scheduled to get the new badges today.

Additionally, students who qualify for off campus lunch will be given a separate pass to display when leaving campus instead of being identified by their ID badge.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

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