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Is a school ban on American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo constitutional?

April 30, 2014

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

What would happen if you wore shirt to school that administrators believe would cause trouble? You might be asked to change your shirt or turn it inside out.

But what if it’s a shirt with an American flag?

A case in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pitted students who wore American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo against the school administration, which told them to turn their shirts inside out or go home.

It all goes back to May 5, 2010, Cinco de Mayo. Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., was having a Mexican heritage celebration, and several students decided to wear American flag shirts.

School administrators said they believed that the students were trying to antagonize the Latino students and worried that the shirts could incite violence that day. School officials asked that the students cover the flag on their shirts or go home.

The students sued the school, saying their First Amendment right to free expression had been violated. The students and their families told newspapers after the incident that they were not trying to incite violence, but were showing their patriotism on a day that the school celebrated the heritage of another country.

“This is the United States of America,” Kendall Jones told the Mercury News. Jones’ son, Daniel Galli, was one of the students sent home. “The idea that it’s offensive to wear patriotic clothing ... regardless of what day it is, is unconscionable to me.”

Administrators had said that the school had a history of gang-related racial violence on Cinco de Mayo and that the threat of violence warranted action on the American flag shirts. They said the American flag shirts were banned only on Cinco de Mayo.

The case has been called another Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The issue of balancing public safety in school and students’ First Amendment right to free speech is central to both cases.

In the 1969 Tinker case, the Supreme Court ruled that the black armbands with the peace sign worn by student protesters were protected symbolic speech. Administrators in Tinker also had said they feared the armbands would disrupt the school. The court ruled that the protest did not distract from the educational process and that the school did not prove that the armbands would have caused a disturbance.

In the Cinco de Mayo case, however, the appeals court said the school officials had legitimate safety concerns and were justified in their actions. The unanimous ruling said the school did not violate the students’ First Amendment rights.

“The controversy and tension remained,” the three-judge panel said in its opinion, “but the school’s actions presciently avoided an altercation.”

“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,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote. The past events “made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real.”

What do you think?

Do you agree with the court’s ruling? How does a school balance its concerns for public safety with students’ free speech rights? Which is more important? Did the school act within its bounds when it told students to cover the flags? Should the fact that the shirts had the American flag have any impact on the ruling? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Jacob s.
Mr. Hanna / Stroudsburg JHS
An American flag shirt should not be banned in any United States school on any day ever. Shirts do not start violence very often, once again we blame the actions of humans on non-human objects. None of the students in this case should have expected any constitutional rights because schools don't really let you have a lot of your own rights. The school probably had no concerns for freedom of speech in the first place and was really trying to keep certain groups from starting fights with other groups over their shirts. There is so much wrong with this story that the list could continue however I would have ruled it unconstitutional just as a little present for the administrative department of the United States school who decided to ban the American flag shirts.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg/pa
Sarah I
Hanna/stroudsburg HHS
I feel that shouldn't be able to wear those t shirts because it's one day where Spanish heritage is celebrated. When American gets all these holidays. Like 4th or July and Memorial Day and it's one day a year so I think people should take so time and respect mexicos heritage

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg/PA
Natalie J
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg Jr. High
I think that students should be able to wear what they feel like wearing to school no matter the holiday. Some kids don't know when Cinco De Mayo is because they aren't really told when it is except on the day of the holiday. And if they are, it's probably a few days before and they will probably forget about it. So if a kid wants to wear a American flag shirt, they should be allowed to do so instead of being punished for wearing what they felt like wearing. It's their nations flag so it shouldn't matter if they wore a shirt that wasn't about the heritage of the holiday.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Kyle H
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I feel you should be able to wear an American flag shirt on any day you want. If you wear an American flag shirt it means you support the U.S.A. I don't feel it's right that the school banned them on Cinco de Mayo. It's almost like taking away your rights as an American civilian. You should be able to wear anything the supports the United States of America or the country you're from. This is America and you have the right to support your country on anyday of the year.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Madeline R.
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
A school should not discourage kids for showing their patriotism, especially on a day that we celebrate other peoples heritage inside our very own country. Kids rights are being taken away, they are being denied the freedom of expression. On a day that Latino Americans are allowed to be proud of their heritage can other people be proud of their own country. Schools should not have this kind of authority when their only defense is they thought it might bring up acts of violence

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Shaydra
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Yes I do because they can say whatever they want about it as long as they know what they are doing. Watch or hear the language they use so they don't get into a whole lot of trouble with Supreme Court.Yes because they didn't like it at first. No because it supports the country you are in.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA/ stroudsburg JHS
Kayliegh
Mr. Hanna
I believe that students should be aloud to wear the shirt with the American flag. I think this because it is our nation and we should show it off. Kids shouldn't get in trouble for wearing their nations flag.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Missy
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I agree with the courts ruling during Tinker v. Des Moines. It is up to the school to protect students. I believe that kids should be allowed to wear the flag shirts. They weren't trying to do anything wrong. They were just showing their nationality. If a student wore a type of clothing that would be a serious threat, then yes that is wrong and something should be done about it, but wearing an American flag on your shirt on Cinco de Mayo is not threatening at all. The school had no right to tell them to cover the flag. It's just like saying the Pledge of Allegiance shouldn't be said on Cinco de Mayo. Students should have the right to show their patriotism.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Dillon P.
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that the students should be allowed to wear the shirt with the flag on it. They are just trying to be patriotic. I never knew that patriotism was illegal. The students were not trying to cause trouble.

6/2/2014
Irving/Texas
Janet
Bradley/Nimitz
I do agree with the courts ruling during Tinker v. Des Moines. It is the school's role to protect the students from any possible danger, however, I believe that students should have the right to wear clothing that displays their support for something. There are certain cases in which protecting the public is more important. For example, if a student wore something that was obscene and posed as a dangerous threat then the school administrators should send the kid home to change. However, in this specific case of American flag shirts worn on Cinco De Mayo, the ruling in favor of the students could have to do with the fact that the students were just displaying their patriotism.

6/2/2014
Irving/TX
Vivian
Bradley/Nimitz
Although every citizen is granted with rights from amendments in the Constitution, if rules of safety is being violated in an institution that is what must come first. In this case I do agree with the court's ruling on a consequences with the students causing a distraction and possible violence. If students could take the time and realize how their very own school system of rules works they would begin to realize that their school limits their privileges to a certain extent. And they only do this to run their education environment with safety. Therefore there has to be a winner on which right is more important. Live Oak High School made a valid move for their own students to avoid skirmish that has a problem within the school already. The fact that the distraction the students chose was a symbol of patriotism of America makes it more controversial but should not be the main factor of this case.

6/1/2014
Irving/Texas
Lacie
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that the students had every constitutional right to wear their American flag shirts that day. They have a first amendment right to wear American flag shirts on any given day at school. But, when it comes to an administrator of a school having to decide between allowing his students to express their first amendment rights or preventing a potential dangerous and violent situation for the students, any person in charge would choose to keep his/her students safe. Because ultimately that is more important. If students are going to wine and cry about not getting to wear a t-shirt one day out of the whole year for only 4 years of their lives, then they are babies. Simple as that. Babies who want to fuss and pout when they don’t get their way. There is so much more life after high school that it is pointless to fight this request made by someone who was simply trying to protect the students at his school. The students do have every right to wear the shirt when they want, but instead of throwing a fit about not getting to wear it that day, they should just be grateful to have administrators who genuinely care about their safety, even if they do feel that it violates their first amendment rights.

6/1/2014
Irving/Texas
Rajith Idiculla
Bradley/Nimitz
It has been shown that Cinco de Mayo activities have been a cause for violence recently at this particular school, so in this case it would be better if the school did not celebrate Cinco de Mayo as an official school event. The court has ruled that when safety concerns are of matter the school has the right to try to take measures to keep the peace. However, the past racial violence has not always been because of students wearing the American flag but rather the celebration of Cinco de Mayo and how it divides the student population.The problem here is that the school administrators are asking for trouble when they openly try to celebrate another country. If students want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and their heritage, that is fine but it shouldn't be a school endorsed event, especially when it is a schismatic issue between the population at the school. If this school really has such problems with gang violence, as reported, then administrators should spend more time disciplining their students and fixing their gang violence problem than trying to placate to students who are offended by the flag of the country that all parties involved are living in.

5/30/2014
Irving T.X
Eva
Bradley/Nimitz
If you are someone that decides to wear an American flag shirt on cinco de mayo you at some degree have knowledge of the conflict it may cause and surely know it could be offensive to people because of the day. America is diverse and things you could do in the 50's are not allowed anymore. America should protect any group of people living here because we all make up America. You are not going to wear a Mexico shirt on 4th of July, it is just something you know can be offensive same with wearing an American shirt on Cinco de Mayo. We are diverse now and should accept that there are just things we can not use anymore.

5/30/2014
Irving/Texas
Berenizes
Bradley/Nimitz
We all have rights and freedom of speech because of the first amendment. However, the main purpose of an education facility is to create an atmosphere of learning and safety. In order to make sure this purpose is achieved, we give up some of our freedoms as students when we enter school. When it comes to the issue at hand, the court ruling against the students was the right way to rule. People argue that when it came to the court case where students wore the vietnam arm bands, the Supreme court ruled in favor of the students but in that situation the students were just protesting the war.They weren’t harming or putting anyone in harm’s way. These students were instigating and creating an environment of legitimate threat and violence.By wearing the american flag shirts, they were luring out the gang members that have been prone to violence on Cinco de Mayo. Imagine if they had been allowed to wear the shirts throughout the day. There would have been an altercation that day where someone would’ve been seriously hurt.

5/29/2014
Irving, Tx
Pam
Bradley/Nimitz
I agree with the court's ruling. I think the safety of the school is more important than the student's freedom of speech, after all, it is only once a year this even happens. The school did what they thought necessary to keep the students safe, even if it did upset students. I do believe it had some impact that the shirts had the American flag on them, but they could have also worn other things to incite violence. Anything worn with that final purpose in mind could have been potentially dangerous.

5/29/2014
Irving, TX
Josh A
Bradley/ Nimitz
I definitely agree with the court ruling. It is true that we all have the right of freedom of expression, but most students are barred from their rights once they enter a school campus and must abide by the district's rules. During these Cinco de Mayo festivities, each student's safety was taken into consideration and the administrators had to do what was best for their students, including banning the t-shirts with the American flag on them that day. Furthermore, the ruling is reinforced by the past events which led to violence. The demonstration that the students, wearing the American Flag t-shirts,had on May 5th made this demonstration seem like an attempt to create violence. Thus, the ruling that the court made is justified. Safety first!

5/28/2014
irving/tx
pablo
bradley/nimitz
I agree with the courts ruling, the school did what they did because they had safety concerns since violence had been an issue on cinco de mayo in the past years. I understand why some people agree it violates the 1st amendment, but the safety of the students should comes first. The school acted within their bounds when they told students to cover the flags on their t shirts to prevent a fight. The fact that the shirts had the American flag had an impact on the ruling since Mexicans and Americans have had racist conflicts in the past and even today

5/28/2014
Maple, WI
Kyra
Mr.Crail/Northwestern
I strangely enough agree with the supreme court decision saying that banning the shirts was fine. My reasoning for this is based on the fact that the school was trying to avoid violence. The school was just taking precautions to protect its’ students. If the school had banned the American flag shirt on any other day it would have been unconstitutional, but the first amendment of speech only goes so far. If your speech is considered to be a danger or threat to others you lose some of your protection by the first amendment. I personally think that there may have been better ways to deal with the issue of protecting students, but I understand that sometimes the school officials just need to get things done. I think that the fact that is was an American flag should have some impact on what happened; however, on a daily basis wearing an American flag shirt should have no impact.

5/22/2014
Washington/NJ
Evan
Rokosny/Warren Hills
The banning of American flag T-Shirts on Cinco de Mayo is one hundred percent unconstitutional. Our first amendment clearly states that we have the right to freedom of speech, which is clearly being violated in this case. In the past, even shirts that simply have the names and logos of student's favorite bands have caused violence. A student from my school once took our middle school to the supreme court in a case similar to this, and although his T shirt instigated violence, because it doesn't violate school rules in any way, he won the case. Showing American spirit shouldn't get you in trouble, and as long as your actions don't initiate violence, it should be those who start violence with you that are suspended.

5/22/2014
Washington/NJ
Pamela
Rokosny/Warren Hills
I agree with the court's ruling, simply because of the fact that the school was banning the American Flag shirts in order to prevent violence. Because there is a history of gang-related violence, especially on Cinco de Mayo, the administrators acted in a responsible way in order to try and prevent violence. Although anything concerning the First Amendment is very controversial, I believe the school acted correctly by asking the students to cover their shirts. The fact that the shirts had American flags on them does not have any impact on the ruling; are we so obsessed with that symbol of freedom that we have to put others at risk in order to express ourselves?

5/22/2014
Washington NJ
Isaac
Rokosney/ Warren Hills High SChool
Back in ye' old America, the framers of the constitution and the bill of rights set up specific articles and amendments to protect the rights of the people. Of these fundamental rights, the framers felt that our right to the freedom to express ourselves and speak our mind without the fear of being persecuted by the federal government. In this respect, the court has no constitutional basis to ban the shirts with American flags on them on cinch de Mayo. There is a huge flaw though in using the first amendment as evidence in opposition of the courts decision. The amendment, taking into account historical context, was drafted to protect the citizens from potential tyranny from a strong central government; not giving the right for a group of students to create sociological barriers and engage in cultural based bullying of fellow students. When symbols, images, print materials, or any form of expression is used to demean fellow citizens, the school, and the courts, have both the right and prerogative to intervene. In a time when students are ending their lives because of verbal abuse (technically falling under a freedom of speech), forms of expression can be as dangerous as an unmonitored weapon, such as a gun, being permitted into a school. The fact that the American flag is on the shirts should not change the fact that the shirts are being used as a weapon, as if a flag was pained on a gun or knife.

5/22/2014
Washington/ nj
Justin Watts
Roskney/ Warren Hills
I do not think this is constitutional do to the president set by the tinker case because a american flag shirt would not disturb the class room. my own school had a lawsuit due a student being told they could not wear a "you are a redneck" shirt and the student won.

5/22/2014
Irving/TX
Anh
Bradley/Nimitz
I agree on the court’s ruling that American flag shirts should be banned on Cinco de Mayo due to the fact that in past incidents, has cause major violence breakouts to happen. If the court had just right out said that, no they can not wear it just because it’s the independence day of another country, then that would be unconstitutional. But the school had a right to ask the student’s to change since, like stated before, it has caused major violence in the area. It seems as though the student who had wore it was not citing patriotism but rather more tension between the Latino students on that exact day. At school, there are no students’ free speech rights and I believe that the public’s safety is far more important, since it’s for the greater good. Once you are at school, you do not have any rights since the school in entitled to do what is right for the whole student body. Though it may have been a bit risky for the school to ask the students to cover the flags, the school did the right thing to protect the public from violence that may occur in the already heavily tension situation, only taking precautions to stop the violence that might occur to their shirts that might cause unnecessary provocations.

5/19/2014
Irving/TX
Evila
Bradley/Nimitz
The first amendment was created to protect political freedoms. It was meant to allow open and free debate not allow violence. The school was merely trying to prevent aggression between the students. If it were any other emblem it would not have caused so much controversy. Do we value this freedom so much that we would our children's lives at risk? We should use this freedom to teach our children to speak their opinions with respect not use the American flags to incite violence among others. The flag of the United States stands as a symbol of hope and greatness, and it wrong to use it to spark hate. These are children, and therefor have limited rights. Whereas Tinker used an armband to peacefully and non intrusively protest, in this case, the school said gang-related racial violence was common. This no peaceful demonstration of patriotism, this was an attempt to create violence, and therefor is not protected under the first amendment. It is ok to disagree, but it's not ok to use our freedom of expression to threaten others.

5/19/2014
Irving/ Texas
Dania Vanessa
Bradley/ Nimitz
Since there was a history of gang violence on Cinco de Mayo, I do understand why the administration decided to ban the American Flag shirt. Even though the United States of America was formed on the freedom of individuals and their rights, it does not mean that citizens have the right to apply their rights everywhere in the country. In many schools, there is a dress code, and even if a student or staff member wants to wear a shirt expressing their love for an alcoholic beverage, if it is not allowed, no matter what rights you are born with, it does not mean that you can break the dress code. Live Oak High School, was acting within its bounds when it told students to cover the flags. It does not matter what the clothing item is or was, if the school does not allow it, then don’t wear it.

5/18/2014
Irving/Tx
Michael
Bradley/Nimitz
I do not agree with the courts rulling mainly because this is America which means we live a free country entitled to many rights. Freedon of expression, included in the 1st amendment, is what schools are trying to take away from us which is unconstitutional! NO, the school was acting outside their bounds when they told students to cover the flags on their t shirts because they were enforcing rules that is not in the constitution. No, the American flag shouldn't have any impact in the ruling, because every U.S citzen should have the right of freedom of expression according to the constitution.

5/18/2014
Irving/Texas
Jessi
Bradley/Nimitz
This is a tough situation. But the teachers are correct in that they were trying to prevent violence on campus. For the sake of the student body, the right decision was made. The school officials and district have a better understanding of the situation than anyone else and if they have valid reason to believe there was a clear threat of violence than they were right in protecting the students. The fact that they were wearing the American flag is significant. It's no coincidence that several students were wearing the shirts on a day celebrating another culture. Though students have rights like any other citizen, if school officials can prevent danger on campus than they are right to act. Both side of the arguments have valid reasoning but I'm siding with the SC on this one.

5/16/2014
Irving/ TX
Kayla
Helen Bradley/ Nimitz High School
Yes, I do agree with the court's ruling. Coming from a Mexican family and community this case hit right at home. I understand the students wearing their American Flags to show patriotism but why do it on Cinco de Mayo and not on any other day? In this situation in order for the school to be able to execute public safety they had diminish the importance of the students' freedom of speech. In this situation the school would not be able to reach a balance. I believe that both the safety and freedom of speech are equally important but in order for the person to be able to exercise their freedom of religion they must be safe and able to do so without future harm. The school did the right thing telling them to cover their flag, what they wanted was to secure their safety. No, the fact that the shirts had an American flag should not impact the ruling. Even though the flag was involved this is about the safety of the people and what is right.

5/15/2014
Irving/Texas
Monica F.
Bradley/Nimitz
The first thing I thought of when I read the opening question was of the Tinker v. Des Moines case, and when I continued reading, and saw that it was mentioned, I figured that the court would have ruled in favor of the students. But that wasn't the case. And while I understand that what the students did may have caused violence (and that violence shouldn't be tolerated), I do feel like the students' First Amendment rights were violated- strictly because of the fact that they were wearing shirts to support something they believed to be right., like the Tinkers did in 1969. Therefore, I do not agree with the Supreme Court's ruling.

5/14/2014
Irving/Texas
Erin D
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that the court ruling should have reflected that of Tinker v. Des Moines, especially since in this case the students were displaying patriotism--something that should be commended not condemned. That being said, ruling in favor of the student’s would only be effective if we lived in a perfect world. Now a days, our country is racially defined and can nearly be called race based gangs. Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, one that isn’t even derived from an issue with the US, so wearing the American flag should not be seen as offensive. Now, if the student’s were wearing the French flag, I can understand the offense and agree that they should be banned at school. All in all, I believe to Supreme Court ruling was wrong, American’s should never be banned to wear our flag.

5/13/2014
Irving/TX
Sarah V
Bradley/Nimitz
No, the school's ban on American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo was not unconstitutional because the school had a legitimate safety concern as the reason for the ban. Since safety was possible put at risk with wearing the shirts, the ban protected the school from any possible violence that could've occurred, which did not hamper on anyone's First Amendment rights. As stated in the Preamble to the Constitution, one of its goals is to "ensure domestic tranquility", which the school's ban effectively did. The fact that the shirt had the American flag should not have any impact on the ruling because the main concern of the ban was to ensure safety; it was not intended to restrict patriotism in any way.

5/12/2014
Irving/TX
Sarah L
Bradley/Nimitz High School
It is completely unconstitutional to ban the American flag in the United States of America, any day of the year. I absolutely disagree with the court’s decision. I understand the schools’ concerns for students’ safety, but freedom of speech, unfortunately, will always present the risk of harm from opponents. We need to stop treating students like babies, and make them understand that they are going to get hurt. We are all going to encounter people with different opinions, but we, as Americans, should not be afraid to be patriotic about our own nation. Our rights and freedoms cannot be sacrificed, and our founding fathers would agree.

5/12/2014
Irving/Texas
Isabel
Bradley/Nimitz
I do not agree with the court's ruling. The students who wore the American flag shirt may have worn it with a bad intention, but to have told them to change or turn their shirts inside out just because they thought their shirt design may cause controversy is ridiculous. The administrators believed they did the right thing about telling those students to change their shirts, but Cinco de Mayo is a celebration for Mexicans, not everyone in America so they had a right to wear what they want, when they want.

5/11/2014
Irving/TX
Carmen
Bradley/Nimitz High School
Yes, I do agree on what the court decided on. Due to the fact that some students, parents. and even staff would take offense to it, its necessary for security reasons. School boards are simply trying to protect the students, in school we all have freedom of speech but just a more conservative freedom of speech. I believe safety is more important than the right to free speech, in school to be specific, students with different views, should simply respect the other students, the children who wore the American flag shirt were aware of what they were stepping into, and knew they'd get in trouble for their actions. The school did the right thing in asking the students to cover up their shirts, I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate it if someone did that to them. I don't think think the American flag should impact the ruling, it was a simple rule that students should have followed to begin with. It's all for good reasons, simply to keep all students safe.

5/9/2014
Irving/Tx
Ty'Mira
Bradley/Nimitz
I do not agree with the court's ruling for the simple fact that the students were band to wear the flag shirts just for one day. They say they are trying to prevent previous violence, but there would still be violence if the students wore the shirts another day. The School can balance safety rights by simply letting them know ahead of time that their shirt may cause prohibited violence. A persons safety is more important than freedom of speech. The School should not have told them to cover their shirts because, if an American citizen was told to cover their Flag symbolized shirt there would be a price to pay, I am sure.

5/9/2014
Irving/Texas
Jose L
Bradley/Nimitz
I do agree in the courts decision. It was reasonable for the school district to take its precautions. As patriotic as people may appeal to be, the school district saw the danger in possible disputes. If it was in the public they might have had that flexibility because the school district isn’t responsible. Since the students are under the school’s responsibility they can do what they feel it’s best to avoid altercations. There were previous occurrences that rivalries have became an issue to student safety to back up the school’s argument. The instigators should have taken their patriotism elsewhere. Although we have freedom of speech we should be conscious of when not to exploit our privileges.

5/8/2014
Irving/Texas
Kimberly
Bradley/Nimitz
When it comes to racial issues someone will always get upset. The American flag should be allowed at all times no matter what day it is. I understand that there had been conflicts in past with the American flag and Cinco de Mayo, but in no situation should a student be told to stop halt there pride in their country. The students should be able to show their pride in their nation, Hispanic or American.

5/7/2014
Irving/Texas
Kelsea
Bradley/Nimitz HS
To question whether students should be able to wear American flags in the free country of America seems preposterous at first glance. There’s no doubt that it is an American right to be proud of your country, but when safety is of concern in a learning environment there has to be consideration for the well being of the student body of the school as a whole. I agree with the court’s rulings but I have to question why the school officials are unable to ensure the safety of the kids. Safety comes first in any situation especially involving government institutions such as schools, but the individual student should be able to choose whether they are willing to endanger themselves by offending other students or starting conflicts. If the purpose behind wearing the shirts is to offend it would be wrong. It’s a matter of respect for different cultures of America-the boiling pot of history. The Latino people belong here just as much as the rest of the population and they are free to practice whatever they’d like just as Americans can on the Fourth of July. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see many mexicans walking around on the Fourth of July with Mexican flag T-shirts on. I think that the school’s decisions to prevent conflict were highly appropriate and justified in accomplishing the establishment of an environment of learning with minimal interruptions over something that shouldn’t be occurring in the first place.

5/6/2014
Irving/Texas
Adam
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes I do agree with the courts ruling. It should be understood that the school was trying to protect the students. Wearing the American flag shirts purposely on another country’s celebration just for intention of violence and causing rifts is ridiculous. They could say Rights were violated but, when we are at school, its whole different situation. The safety and security of the student body should be the first priority. As the article says, the school has had past gang related violence on Cinco De Mayo, and with the kids wearing the shirts, could obviously escalate the situation even worse than the previous time. Tell the students to wear the shirts another day if they are that patriotic, bet none of them could tell me the current Chief Justice though.

5/6/2014
Montana
Melissa
North Star High School
American flag shirts should not be banned! I understand the point that the school is trying to maintain public peace, therefore this argument could be valid. There is a point to be made that some schools require flags to be hung in the school, or in the classrooms. I think that the court's ruling was correct because they were concerned about the public saftey dealing with the gangs. Even though this does infringe on the individual rights of the students, it benefits the common good.

5/5/2014
Irving/Tx
Ruth
Bradley/Nimitz
I strongly agree with the court's ruling,not because it has to do with Cinco de Mayo but for pure security reasons. Lets remind ourselves that when in school we still have our rights but they are just moderated for the purpose of our own good. The kids who decided to wear the shirts clearly knew what they were doing and got upset when they got in trouble for wearing the shirts and decided to take it out on the school. They knew wearing the shirts could be an endangerment to both themselves and their fellow peers,but they still wore it, and just because it had the American flag on their shirt it should not matter. If the situation was reversed the same rules should apply,rules are made for a reason, in this case it was for the SAFETY of the students.The kids who wore the shirts need to stop being little cry babies and get over it,if they are so “patriotic”like they claim to be they could wear the shirt any other day!

5/5/2014
Montana
Bet
North Star high
I feel that the students have a right to wear the American flag but at the same time with that being said we should take a few things into consideration. For instance the fact that this isn't the first time this school has had run-ins with cinco de mayo. They have had gang-related racial violence, which I feel already changes the case on the students wearing the flags on their shirts in the first place. Also the fact that it wasnt just one kid that wore it, Which means they planned it . It wasn't a coincidence that it happened to be on the same day as Cinco de Mayo. They were trying to prove a point.

5/5/2014
North Star High School
Quinn
Mrs. Campbell
In my opinion, the students should not be able to wear these shirts in the situation presented. When kids go to school, some of their rights are left at the door for the common good of the school and to prevent the violation of other kid's rights. These kids who wore the shirts were endangering other kids and themselves by wearing these shirts around gang members that have been prone to violence on Cinco de Mayo. That is not saying that they don't have the right to do this if the gangs were more tolerable, but since they are infringing on their own, and other people's safety, they should not be allowed to do so. But this poses another question. On the flip side, what if those students were in summer-school, or a school-sponsored driver's education class that went on during the 4th of July and the Latino students wore Mexican flag shirts? Do they have the same rights taken away? Tolerance should go both ways and everyone should have the same rights retracted to support the common good.

5/5/2014
Rudyard/MT
Sarah
Mrs. Campbell/North Star
When a student enters the doors of the schoolhouse, they leave certain freedoms at the door. The goal of the school is to create an environment in which every student feels safe and can learn at the optimum level. That is why certain freedoms of speech or the press are given up at the door. That is why the court ruled against the students in this case. There was a legitimate threat that this action would instigate a, more than likely, violent response. The common good of the school was more important than those few students freedom of speech. Even with the precedent of the Vietnam armbands, I do feel that the court ruling was right.

5/5/2014
MT
Delainey
North Star a High School
Every school has a dress code. The requirements and standards of these dress codes grossly differ, though. At my school, you cannot wear shorts/skirts/dresses more than 3 inches above your knee, and you cannot wear clothing referencing drugs or inappropriate slang. These rules are for good measure and appropriateness. But not being able to advertise your American pride? Being unable to show your patriotism? How is that appropriate? How is that for good measure? This is America. We are known for our patriotism, American pride and love for our country. If we can't show it, then how do we know it is still there? If we can't express our love for our country because it's "insensitive" to another culture, then is it even our country? Is it even America?

5/5/2014
Rudyard, MT
The Cooper Spicher
Ms. Campbell/North Star High School
This is 'Murica. You should be able to wear an American flag shirt whenever you want. Yes, Cinco de Mayo celebrates another country, but America is the one we live in. I should be able to represent my country and patriotism whenever I want since, ya know, we live here. I strongly disagree with the court's ruling. I think it's a joke that they got in trouble FOR WEARING AN AMERICAN FLAG! It's not like they were wearing swastikas or promoting terrorism. They were representing the country that we live in! This should not even be an issue.

5/5/2014
Montana
Melissa
North Star High School
American flag shirts should not be banned! I understand the point that the school is trying to maintain public peace, therefore this argument could be valid. There is a point to be made that some schools require flags to be hung in the school, or in the classrooms. I think that the court's ruling was correct because they were concerned about the public saftey dealing with the gangs. Even though this does infringe on the individual rights of the students, it benefits the common good.

5/3/2014
Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan
Rachel23
Pierce Middle School
Its the students rights to wear what they want, especially when its not something inappropriate, but an AMERICAN FLAG!!! We live in America, and this is showing patriotism. Does this mean now that whenever we celebrate another nation, or its the holiday of another country we don't have the right to act like patriotic Americans? Its one thing if we're in another country when this happened but in America? We might as well take down all the flags that are, let me remind you, REQUIRED in each class room. Wouldn't want to offend people of other descents, now would we? Better yet lets take it away altogether. No more American flags!

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