Five Morgan Hill students sent home for wearing American flag T-shirts

Lindsay Bryant, of the Gilroy (CA) Dispatch tells us:

[INDENT]Five Live Oak High School students’ First Amendment rights were challenged this morning when they were asked to leave school because they donned American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. Officials at the school chose not to comment on the situation, but one student said an official called the T-shirts “incendiary.”

“They said we were starting a fight, we were fuel to the fire,” said sophomore Matt Dariano.

Right on, fashion violations are not allowed! :tsktsk:

:rolleyes: This is as absurd as it gets…

The last time I heard, this was still [SIGN][/SIGN]The United States Of America[SIGN][/SIGN]. If kids want to wear an image of our national standard, There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong, is celebrating Cinco de Mayo in our public schools, or any other public building in the first place. This is The United States, not Mexico! Does Mexico allow their schools to celebrate our Independence Day (July 4th)? :rolleyes:

  1. If you can burn the flag as part of free speech, surely waving or wearing the flag under several circumstances could be called political speech. A kid is not a flag pole.

  2. You think kids are never sent home for intentionally confrontational political statements?

Is it wrong to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in public schools?

**Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees **

Freedom of expression or cultural disrespect on Cinco de Mayo?

On any other day at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Daniel Galli and his four friends would not even be noticed for wearing T-shirts with the American flag. But Cinco de Mayo is not any typical day especially on a campus with a large Mexican American student population.

Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal’s office.

“They said we could wear it on any other day,” Daniel Galli said, “but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it’s supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today.”

The boys said the administrators called their T-shirts “incendiary” that would lead to fights on campus.

“They said if we tried to go back to class with our shirts not taken off, they said it was defiance and we would get suspended,” Dominic Maciel, Galli’s friend, said.
The boys really had no choice, and went home to avoid suspension. They say they’re angry they were not allowed to express their American pride. Their parents are just as upset, calling what happened to their children, “total nonsense.”
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Julie Fagerstrom, Maciel’s mom, said. “All they were doing was displaying their patriotic nature. They’re expressing their individuality.”
But to many Mexican-American students at Live Oak, this was a big deal. They say they were offended by the five boys and others for wearing American colors on a Mexican holiday.
“I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day,” Annicia Nunez, a Live Oak High student, said. “We don’t deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn’t do that on Fourth of July.”

As for an apology, the boys and their families say, “fat chance.”
“I’m not going to apologize. I did nothing wrong,” Galli said. “I went along with my normal day. I might have worn an American flag, but I’m an American and I’m proud to be an American.”

The five boys and their families met with a Morgan Hill Unified School District official Wednesday night. The district released a statement saying it does not agree with how Live Oak High School administrators handled this incident.

The boys will not be suspended and they were told they can go back to school Thursday. They may even wear their red, white, and blue colors again, but this time, the day after Cinco de Mayo, there will be no controversy.

The school obviously has a problem with ethnic tension in the student body. The school handled it the wrong way, though. Its something they should have seen coming and headed off.

Is this still America?

We should not have to kowtow to anyone else’s nationalism in our own country.

I celebrate Cinco de Mayo and my husband is Mexican American and he stands firm with me on this. He is 21 year Army Vet and an American Patriot.:thumbsup:

Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break

Isn’t lunch break halfway through the day? Had there been any problem up until that time?

“I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day,” Annicia Nunez, a Live Oak High student, said. “We don’t deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn’t do that on Fourth of July.”

It would be interesting to know if anyone has ever been “persecuted” for wearing a Mexican flag T-shirt on the Fourth of July! Would anyone even notice?

Is it possible that the school was making overmuch of this “Mexican Heritage Day”?

Of course the students have the right to wear T-shirt with the American Flag or the Irish Tri-color or the Hammer & Sickle as far as that goes. I think the school administration was in the legal wrong.

Were I Hispanic (which I am not) the renophobic racism surrounding Hispanics in America these days would have me on the defensive, though.

It’s best to live-and-let-live, but we humans seem to have a hard time doing that.

My kid is Mexican–We celebrate Cinco De Mayo, but we recognize that we celebrate it- IN AMERICA. We are ‘American’. I have to put myself into the shoes of the other parent…

What if, next month, for no particular reason my daughter decided she wanted to wear a shirt with the mexican flag on it? Would it be inappropriate because that day WASNT assigned for hispanics? I would be outraged if I was the parent of one of those kids.

How is a ‘day’ or even a ‘holiday’ ASSIGNED to only one group??

I dont know why this stuff always happens in MY city…anyways, if anyone wants to call the school, I already did-

Live Oak School
Principal Mr. Nick Boden
Switchboard (408) 201-6100

very sad. I live near Morgan Hill and one of my acquaintances has children in that district.

Whenever the Vietnamese community has an event (the most significant being the lunar New Year, of course), they fly both Vietnamese and American flags. They celebrate their distinct culture and their adopted country all at once!

This is a sensible practice. It honors both the culture of origin and the country in which they live.

Playing devils advocate:

I understand that the Principal may have been just trying to avoid problems…and if he hadnt done anything, and there was an issue, then he and the school may have been blamed…


Does it matter then, that on any other day these students havent had any problems?

Or that even on this day they made it almost throughout the day with no altercations?

IMHO, the students did an excellent job of respecting eachothers diversity…If the principal had thought there MAY have been an issue, maybe he could have loomed somewhere near by after school…making sure they leave campus safely.

But there were no threats to these students.

Do you think maybe that the younger generations are already over this? And its us older folks, with our politics and what not that are continuing the cyle of racial division?

I’m neutral in this debate but I will point out St.Patrick’s Day is not equivalent to Cinco de Mayo or American Independence day. For the comparision to work Easter Monday would have to be celebrated as a day devoted to Irish Independence. St. Patrick’s Day may be associated with Ireland but it is a day dedicated to a Saint (in theory at least ,dedicated to beer in real life is more true) rather than a day commerating independence.

It doesn’t matter what cultural holiday you celebrate, in the United States public servants are never to show deference to a flag of another nation over Old Glory.

That said, the children shouldn’t be told they can wear their shirts any other day. They shouldn’t be able to wear those shirts to school at all. They violate our nation’s Flag Code.

The U.S. Flag is not to be used as costuming - even on t-shirts and ties!

Cinco de Mayo means nothing in this case, except if the idea is put forth that you need to hide Old Glory out of deference to Mexican heritage and celebration. Nothing can be further from the truth! It is against the Flag Code to ever have the U.S. Flag show deference to a foreign or state flag:

  • The U.S. flag is never to be flown lower than any other nation’s colors, or the colors of any State or Territory.

  • The U.S. flag is always to displayed on the right-most flag pole (the right of the flag, not the viewers) when flags of many nations or states are displayed.

The principle that forced students to remove the U.S. flag in deference to displays of the Mexican flag on Cinco de Mayo should be disciplined. These are the people responsible for instructing young citizens in civics. If they can’t set a proper example they shouldn’t have the job.

  • Marty Lund

:eek:Watch the news whenever they have protests over immigration and see them waving all these mexican flags while on US soil.And the principal i guess thought maybe there would be a rumble between these kids and some of the hispanic students.
This is really getting out of hand. it seems like it’s not our country any more.
Around here in the stores,they have signs in both spanish and english.Some of these people have the idea that gringos should learn spanish,well these people need to learn english. My relatives learned it as did many of yours. My sister in law is hispanic.But she feels that you’re in America now so be one. She was born and raised here and her family has been in South Texas for generations, and alot of these people just get her mad.
The vietnamese have it right. We have an Asian festival to celebrate the New Year.
If you notice, the asian americans as a group don’t go out and act the way these illegals and their supporters do.This PC stuff is getting out of hand.

Marty, I both agree with you and disagree with you on this one. Though it may violate the flag code to wear the flag as a piece of clothing, many do so out of a sense of patriotism. Their intentions are not to denigrate the flag, but support it.

I agree that the administrative personnel who enforced this action should be disciplined. The district should be sued for violating the rights of the students, because there has to be a cost for doing so. They should also be disciplined for, as you say, showing deference to a foreign flag.

But far more than simply showing deference to a foreign flag, I think the administration’s behavior and the alleged statements made point to a sad truth.

I did defense investigations for California school districts for almost 20 years, covering districts all over the state. The fact that the administration was concerned about a violent confrontation is not a reflection on the students wearing the American flag. It is a reflection on those celebrating Cinco de Mayo. It is a tacit admission by a California school administration that the culture that supports that celebration incorporates a very anti-American element and sentiment.

Deliberate Balkanization has been underway in California and America for a long, long time, wholly supported by school administrations under the pretext of “multiculturalism.” This incident is simply one of the indicators that made its way to public view.

And many wear the flag out of the sense of a political statement or ethnic opposition, not patriotism. Such oppositional statements are particularly inappropriate for a school setting.

People can wear the Mexican flag for the same reason. Such oppositional statements are particularly inappropriate for a school setting - especially in the U.S.A…

Since this is the United States, the flying of the U.S. flag according to the Flag Code should not be prohibited. Inappropriate displays of any nation’s flag should be prohibited - including elevating any other nation’s flag in primacy above the U.S. flag. Appropriate displays of U.S. patriotism in the public facilities of the U.S. should never be prohibited in deference to the celebration of a foreign nation or culture.

  • Marty Lund
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