School Banned American Flag Shirts On Cinco de Mayo

| by Lisa Fogarty

Back in 2010, several students at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, made a big political statement when they wore American flag T-shirts to school on Cinco de Mayo. Fearing a repeat of a racially-fueled fight between Latino and white students that broke out in the building the previous year on the Mexican holiday, school administrators ordered the students to turn their shirts inside out, reports the Washington Times.

That one rule sparked nationwide controversy after the children’s parents and other supporters ran to their defense and lambasted the school for violating their First Amendment freedom of speech rights. 

But the issue was put to rest this week when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reconsider a ruling that allowed the school to ban American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo in the interest of keeping its students safe. A three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the school’s responsibility to keep students safe outweighed the teen’s free speech rights, reports San Jose Mercury News. If parents want to continue their battle, they will now have to take it up with the Supreme Court.

“Both the specific events of May 5, 2010, and the pattern of which those events were a part made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real,” the court said when it ruled in favor of Live Oak High School.

William Becker, the parents’ attorney said the court’s decision was “outrageous” and that he would fight it in the Supreme Court. “(We) will not allow the politically correct judiciary to insult our flag,” Becker said.

Sources: Washington Times, San Jose Mercury News

Photo Credit: Brad.K/Flickr