[Vision2020] And Now the Lawsuits Will fly!

Wayne Price bear at moscow.com
Thu May 6 11:53:28 PDT 2010

Just think how badly the German and Japanese kids feel on Armistice  
day,  VE day and VJ day when those are remembered in the schools!  Oh  
wait a minute, we already ignore those days! Oh well, Remember the  

"Administrators at a California high school sent five students home on  
Wednesday after they refused to remove their American flag T-shirts  
and bandannas -- garments the school officials deemed "incendiary" on  
Cinco de Mayo.

The five teens were sitting at a table outside Live Oak High School in  
Morgan Hill, Calif., on Wednesday morning when Assistant Principal  
Miguel Rodriguez asked two of them to remove their American flag  
bandannas, one of their parents told FoxNews.com. The boys complied,  
but were asked to accompany Rodriguez to the principal's office. The  
five students -- Daniel Galli, Austin Carvalho, Matt Dariano, Dominic  
Maciel and Clayton Howard -- were then told they must turn their T- 
shirts inside-out or be sent home, though it would not be considered a  
suspension. Rodriguez told the students he did not want any fights to  
break out between Mexican-American students celebrating their heritage  
and those wearing American flags.Dariano's mother, Diana, told  
FoxNews.com she and parents of the other four students are now  
demanding an apology from officials and are considering a laws"We want  
an apology," Diana Dariano said Thursday. "Who in the United States of  
America would have an issue with that? It's a sad, sad day. "Dariano  
said her son has at least four T-shirts with American flags that he  
wears often and did not try to cause any conflict at school. "I'm more  
hurt than anything," she said. "It is so hurtful and disrespectful the  
way this has turned. These are American kids"

The boys told Rodriguez and Principal Nick Boden that turning their  
shirts inside-out was disrespectful, so their parents decided to take  
them home, the Morgan Hill Times reports."I just couldn't believe it,"  
Julie Fagerstrom, Maciel's mother, told the newspaper. "I'm an open- 
minded parent, but it's got to be on both sides. It can't be five kids  
singled out. "Galli told NBC Bay Area, "They said we could wear it on  
any other day, but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because  
it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it."

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Morgan Hill Unified School  
District said it did not agree with the school's actions."In an  
attempt to foster a spirit of cultural awareness and maintain a safe  
and supportive school environment, the Live Oak High School  
administration took certain actions earlier today," the statement  
read. "The district does not concur with the Live Oak High School  
administration's interpretation of either board or district policy  
related to these actions."Officials at Live Oak High School and the  
Morgan Hill Unified School District did not return several messages  
seeking comment on Thursday. A secretary told the Morgan Hill Times  
that Boden and Rodriguez were unavailable for comment on Wednesday.  
According to its website, Live Oak High School is a 1,300-student  
institution in the southern part of Santa Clara County, with most  
students residing in the nearby cities of Morgan Hill and San  
Jose."The student population reflects the rich ethnic and  
socioeconomic diversity of the community," the website reads. More  
than 100 students were spotted wearing the colors of the Mexican flag  
-- red, white and green -- as they left school, including some who had  
the flag painted on their faces or arms, the Morgan Hill times  
reported. While bandannas of any color are banned at the school, its  
dress code policy does not contain references to American flags.

"However, any clothing or decoration which detracts from the learning  
environment is prohibited," the policyreads. "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."Freshman Laura Ponce, who had a Mexican flag  
painted on her face and chest, told the Morgan Hill Times that Cinco  
de Mayo is the "only day" Mexican-American students can show their  
national pride."There was a lot of drama going on today," Ponce told  
the newspaper. Some other Mexican-American students reportedly said  
their flags were taken away or asked to be put away, but no other  
students were sent home on Wednesday.Eugene Volokh, a professor of law  
at the University of California-Los Angeles, said the students are  
protected under California Education Code 48950, which prohibits  
schools from enforcing a rule subjecting a high school student to  
disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of conduct, that when  
engaged outside of campus, is protected by the First Amendment.If the  
school could point to previous incidents sparked by students who wore  
garments with American flags, they could argue that the flag is likely  
to lead to "substantial disruption," Volokh said.If, for example,  
there had been fights over similar things at past events, if there had  
been specific threats made," he said. "But if [school officials] just  
say, 'Well, we think it might be offensive to people,' that's  
generally speaking not enough."Volokh said the students and their  
parents likely have a winning case on their hands if they decide to  
take the matter to court. "Oh yes, it's almost open and shut," he  
said.Lis Wiehl, a former federal prosecutor and a Fox News legal  
analyst, said the incident appears to a "blatant" violation of the  
students' First Amendment right to free speech. She noted that  
inciting violence is an exception to a First Amendment legal defense,  
but Wiehl said she saw no indications that the students provoked  
anyone."Unless I'm missing something, this seems like a blatant  
violation of the First Amendment," said Wiehl, adding that uniforms  
are not required at the public school. "And they're wearing, of all  
horrific things, the American flag.' "
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