Federal court sides with school that banned wearing of U.S. flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo

Federal court sides with school that banned wearing of U.S. flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo

Round 2 in a battle that could go as far as the U.S. Supreme Court was decided Thursday in favor of a California high school that forced students to turn their American flag t-shirts inside out on Cinco de Mayo or be sent home due to fears of racial violence.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

In a unanimous, three-judge decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Morgan Hill Unified School District, which had argued that a history of problems on the Mexican holiday justified the Live Oak High School administrators’ decision to act against the flag-wearing students.

“Our role,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the panel, “is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put in place to avoid violence. … [Past events] made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real.”

After the school delivered its ultimatum to so-called “Anglo” students on May 5, 2010, a group of outraged parents filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming that their children’s First Amendment rights were being trampled. One of them is Kendall Jones, whose son, Daniel Galli, was sent home. Said Jones in reaction to the court’s decision:

This is the United States of America. The idea that it’s offensive to wear patriotic clothing … regardless of what day it is, is unconscionable to me.

Steve Betando, Morgan Hill Unified’s superintendent, expressed relief over court’s ruling. He said in a statement to the press:

We believe the 9th Circuit correctly determined that administrators must be afforded reasonable leeway to make difficult decisions when necessary to protect student safety, even where such decisions impact student speech.

The ruling, which is consistent with past decisions by what is arguably the most liberal federal court in the country, not only flies in the face of the Constitution but fits a pattern of behavior that has become all too familiar in Obama’s America. It was on display in February when administrators at a Colorado high school turned down students’ request for a spirit week day honoring America because it might offend immigrants.

This approach is also reflected in the attacks on “white privilege,” which have become prevalent in recent years. The message from the left seems to be that there is no way of celebrating America’s “diversity” without first tearing down the nation’s traditions and values.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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