Students at Live Oak High School in San Francisco are not allowed to wear American flags on Cinco de Mayo, according to a federal court case. Tea Party activists planned a protest today in retaliation.
The Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots are protesting a Ninth Circuit Court ruling siding with the school district in its decision not to allow American flags on the Latin-American holiday, reports CBS San Francisco. The school decided to ban the flags in order to ease tension between white and Latino students, an ongoing struggle at the school.
Georgine Scott-Codiga, president of the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots, said the rally would be “peaceful.”
“We’re not trying to be divisive of anything; it has nothing to do whatsoever with Cinco De Mayo. The issue here is a freedom-of-speech issue,” she told the school board at a recent meeting in which members of the Latino community asked that the group hold the rally away from school grounds.
The ban came about following Cinco de Mayo 2010, in which several students were asked to turn their American flag shirts inside out or else go home and change. When they refused, they were asked to leave school grounds.
Several families sued the school district, claiming that the rule violated students’ right to free speech. They lost their case, with the federal court ruling that the school had the right to violate the 14th amendment right to free speech if it caused a “significant disruption”—known as a “heckler’s veto.”
More than 50 flag-wearing Tea Party activists are expected at the school today.