Five students at a California high school were sent home on Cinco de Mayo when they refused to remove their American flag shirts. School officials felt wearing them on the Mexican holiday was "incendiary."
According to a report in the Morgan Hill Times, the students were sitting at a table outside Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill Wednesday, when assistant principal Miguel Rodriguez approached, and asked them to remove their American flag bandanas. They did, but then were told to go to the principal's office.
There, the students say the principal told them to turn their shirts inside-out, or to go home. The students said they thought it was disrespectful to flag to do that, so they chose to go home.
The students say Rodriguez explained to them that he was fearful the shirts could spark a fight between them and Mexican-American students who were celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
"They said we were starting a fight," one of the students, Matt Dariano told the newspaper. "We were fuel to the fire."
Another student, Daniel Galli told NBC Bay Area, "They said we could wear it on any other day, but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it."
The school's dress code bans all bandanas at the school. While there is nothing in it about American flags, the code does give administrators some leeway:
Any clothing or decoration which detracts from the learning environment is prohibited. The school has the right to request that any student dressing inappropriately for school will change into other clothes, be sent home to change, and/or be subject to disciplinary action.
However, it appears in this case, administrators went too far. In a statement, the Morgan Hill Unified School District said it did not agree with the school's actions.
In an attempt to foster a spirit of cultural awareness and maintain a safe and supportive school environment, the Live Oak High School administration took certain actions earlier today. The district does not concur with the Live Oak High School administration's interpretation of either board or district policy related to these actions.