The New American – In an incredible decision that shocked Americans nationwide, a panel of judges on a federal appeals court ruled unanimously last week that school officials in the San Jose, California, suburb of Morgan Hill acted appropriately and legally by preventing students from wearing T-shirts with U.S. flags on Cinco de Mayo. According to the panel of judges, despite free-speech rights, the controversial ban on American flags was supposedly needed to prevent “racial tension” from exploding into open violence at the school. Multiple concerns have been raised about the scandal. The battle, however, is far from over.
The saga officially began on May 5, 2010, when Live Oak School bosses ordered students to either turn their patriotic apparel inside out, take it off completely, or be sent home. The administrators’ supposed reasoning for the infringement on free speech, which the three-judge panel on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with, was that wearing U.S. flags on the “Cinco de Mayo” celebration could have stoked racial violence. The Cinco de Mayo holiday commemorates the May 5, 1862 victory over French forces by the Mexican Army in the Battle of Puebla. It is celebrated primarily in the Mexican state of Puebla and by Americans of Mexican ancestry.
The American Freedom Law Center, one of the heavy-hitting organizations supporting the targeted students, slammed the ruling as a discriminatory attack on the First Amendment. “It is truly a sad day when government officials are permitted to ban the American flag on a public high school campus for any reason,” said AFLC co-founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise, who argued the case before the Ninth Circuit.
“Here, school officials feared that our clients would offend ‘Mexican’ students if they wore their flag shirts to school on Cinco de Mayo, so they ordered the students to either remove their shirts or leave school in direct violation of their First Amendment rights,” Muise added in a statement released after the ruling. AFLC also pointed out that clothing with Mexican-flag colors was not banned by school officials.
Read more: The New American