Sunday, March 29, 2015

Late to flag thing, UPDATED 3/29/15

Flag T-shirts banned on Cinco de Mayo in Morgan Hill
I’m tardy on this issue.
“The case dates back to May 5, 2010, when the principal of Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California, asked a group of students wearing American flag T-shirts to turn their shirts inside out or take them off.
The students at the Northern California school refused, according to the appeals court's summary of the case, and later brought a civil rights suit against the school and two administrators, arguing that their rights to freedom of expression, equal protection and due process had been violated.
Judges said the civil rights case forced them to weigh the difficult question of what takes precedence: students' free speech rights or school safety concerns?”
It’s relevant now because the 9th Federal District Court ruled,
“A California school that stopped students from wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo didn't violate their constitutional rights, an appeals court ruled Thursday.
The school's approach, according to the appeals court, kept students safe in a climate of racial tension.”
It’s easy to get really angry and passionate about the 1st Amendment issue and the American flag.  That’s why I’m here for some super concise analysis to warm the cockles of your heart and stimulate the mush that is your brain.
1.  Cinco de Mayo is stupid.  Just like St. Patricks Day is stupid and Mardi Gras is stupid.  It’s an excuse to drink, period.  So when students get into the nativist versus immigrant, flag waving crap, they look stupid.  The only real celebration for Cinco de Mayo is in the state of Puebla.  And since they defeated the French, they are well within their right to celebrate.
2.   The court made the right decision.  You can disagree with the ruling all you want but if the American flag had a history of violence at the school, the administration had the right to tell the students to inside-out the shirts.  That pretty much goes for any symbol.  So don’t blame the courts. 
3.  The school is to blame.  A culture that exists that actually accepts violence revolving around the American flag is inexcusable.  It’s a pathetic commentary on the inability to lead a school and make the institution a bastion of safety and openness within society. 
4.  Those four students that wore the shirts were not being patriotic.  They were being antagonistic and petulant.  Grow up.
5.  Those Mexican students that threatened the students for wearing the flags were not defending Mexican culture.  They are straight up bullies that need to be punished. 
This is one of those situations that is almost laughably stupid when a person stands outside the box looking in. It’s like a bad reality show that has gone badly out of control to the point when you just feel sorry for all participants.  Grab a new producer, please, and make this a better situation for kids.    

UPDATE 3/29/15:

"A California school dispute that arose when students wore shirts emblazoned with the American flag on Cinco de Mayo could prompt the Supreme Court to take a new look at free-speech rules for high schools."
 The Supreme Court is now looking at reviewing the case.  For those that did not pay attention in Government the Supreme Court gets hundreds of cases petitioned to the court each year but will only take a select few.  Four out of the nine justices must agree for a case to be heard.  I'm hoping that the case is heard if only so we can get greater clarification about free speech in high schools around the country.  I'm also hoping that the justices blast the school administration for letting the highly charged racial atmosphere develop to the point that the stupid shirts and idiotic holiday even became an issue.
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