An Idaho high school has come under fire for telling a Latina student her “brown pride” hoodie was gang-related and racist. After school officials compared the hoodie to a “white pride” garment and told her to take it off, she organized a protest.

The student wore her “brown pride” hoodie with an “Aztec mural” design

Caldwell High School senior Brenda Hernandez went to her fifth-period economics class in early December, business as usual. She wore a “brown pride” hoodie by Jefito Hats, a local brand she models for. As per NBC News, Hernandez had worn the sweater to school previously and had never received a violation.

The student described the sweater to Idaho News 6, saying, it said “Brown Pride” in the front with an Aztec mural design. “In the back, it had lowriders, nothing inappropriate,” and Hernandez believed she “wasn’t breaking the dress code.”

A staff member took Hernandez to the principal’s office, telling her the “brown pride” hoodie was “like wearing a white pride shirt,” and that people could “find it racist.”

Meanwhile, the principal called the hoodie “gang-related” and gave the student a violation.

According to KTVB 7, school officials told Hernandez the sweater was “offensive” and racist. Still, they gave her the option to turn it inside-out. To that, the student said: “That means my whole background. My family’s background, my ancestors’ background, and it will always be who I am. It’s something I can’t hide. There is no hiding it.”

The school compared the hoodie to “gang” attire and told her to remove it

So why would the school ban the sweater in the first place? The high school’s dress code prohibits “gang clothing” or attire. Further, the district told NBC that “Brown Pride” is associated with Northwest street gangs.

Hernandez said she wore the hoodie to show her “pride,” not incite violence by any means. That’s when she knew she had to organize a protest to defend her rights.

The high school senior collected 400 signatures in support of her petition, and held the school protest on January 17. Hernandez’s viral TikTok video (at 1.7 million views and counting) shows several students holding posters and waving the Mexican flag.

Noticeable poster signage included, “We refuse to lose and let our culture die” and “Only God can judge me.”

Now, Hernandez has turned to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to consider taking legal action against the district.

As LULAC state director Sunny Ligas told Idaho News 6, “It’s mostly white people that don’t understand the terminology or culture, and they keep on twisting it, saying its gang and gangs and gangs. That’s not the thing.”