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Should a School Ever Ban an American Flag T Shirt? [POLL]

Imagine students being banned from wearing an American Flag tee shirt…IN AMERICA!!!!

American Flag
Flickr User From Sovereign to Serf – Roger Sayles

Imagine a court ruling that it’s OK to ban students from wearing an American Flag tee shirt in America. That’s what happened as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that it was appropriate for school officials to ban students at Live Oak High School near San Jose California from wearing American Flag tee shirts on Conco De Mayo.

The ruling stems from a controversial incident in 2010 when five students were told by administrators at Live Oak High School (which has a history of racial tension and gang violence) to either turn their American flag T-shirts inside out or go home. In a unanimous decision, the court cited two instances where students had been threatened with violence for wearing the flag. In 2009, some students of Mexican descent told an assistant principal they would “f— up” other kids who were chanting “USA” around a flag they had hung from a tree on the school campus.

The next year, students wearing the flag tees were warned by text messages and phone calls that gang members would come to the school and beat them up. Because only shirts with the American flag were targeted, school officials didn’t ban shirts bearing images of other countries’ flags, including the Mexican flag. In response to the ban, a group of parents sued the district, alleging violation of the teens’ First Amendment rights

The court pointed out that under previous law, it is indeed legal to restrict high school students’ free speech because of safety concerns. The Live Oak dress code also states, “The school has the right to request that any student dressing inappropriately for school will change into other clothes, be sent home to change, and/or be subject to disciplinary action.” Writing for the panel of three judges,9th Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown stated, “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. … [The events] made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real.” However, some parents are still threatening to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. “This is the United States of America,” Kendall Jones, whose son was one of the students banned from wearing a shirt depicting the American flag, told 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.”

How do you feel? Should a school ever ban a student from wearing an American Flag tee shirt?

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