Court: School Can Ban US Flag Shirts

Calif. school wanted to prevent Cinco de Mayo fights

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 28, 2014 12:57 AM CST

(Newser) – A history of violence between white and Latino students justified a California high school's 2010 decision to order students wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo to turn them inside out or go home, a federal appeals court has decided. "Our role is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put in place to avoid violence," a judge wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel, which cited previous cases where school safety was judged more important than students' First Amendment rights, the AP reports.

Lawyers for students at the suburban San Jose high school who were wearing the shirts plan to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. "This is the United States of America," the parent of one Live Oak High School student who was sent home tells the San Jose Mercury News. "The idea that it's offensive to wear patriotic clothing ... regardless of what day it is, is unconscionable to me."

Not acceptable garb at Live Oak High School on Cinco de Mayo.
Not acceptable garb at Live Oak High School on Cinco de Mayo.   (PRNewsFoto/Gap Inc.)
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This is a pretty sad commentary. Here we have a school saying it's too dangerous for students to wear an American flag to an American school. - UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh

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