Sam Barlow HS principal rejects ‘American Out’ theme

Dress-up theme nights are common at Sam Barlow football games

Sam Barlow principal rejected a 'Patriotic night' for Friday's football game (KOIN).
Sam Barlow principal rejected a 'Patriotic night' for Friday's football game (KOIN).

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — The principal of Sam Barlow High School rejected a pitch for an America-themed dress up event — prompting people to criticize his decision.

Students wanted fans to wear patriotic colors at Friday night’s football game against Reynolds High School at Mount Hood Community College.

Gresham-Barlow School District spokesperson Athena Vadnais, September 22, 2017 (KOIN).
Gresham-Barlow School District spokesperson Athena Vadnais, September 22, 2017 (KOIN).

After rejecting the idea, Principal Bruce Schmidt sent out a letter explaining his decision. He said it was a case of bad timing and not enough planning

In the letter, Schmidt said dress-up theme nights are common at Sam Barlow football games. In the past, they’ve had “White Out” and “Black Out” nights along with “Hick Out” and a Hawaiian-themed night. He went on to say that a patriotic event would best be accomplished on home turf with more planning.

Athena Vadnais, the spokesperson for the Gresham-Barlow School District, said, “When the principal learned that the students were considering an ‘American Out’ and there wasn’t a lot of time to plan a very special and very respectful event.”

However, students have different opinions as to why Schmidt rejected the idea.

Some said there were comments circulating on social media calling the theme night racist, insensitive and politically motivated — leading to Schmidt dismissing the idea.

Schmidt said students can still wear whatever colors they want, it just won’t be a school-sanctioned theme.

Students said they plan to dress up regardless.

Principal Schmidt’s full letter is below: