Court Upholds Calif. School’s Ban on Clothing With U.S. Flag

MORGAN HILL, Calif. – A federal appellate court upheld Live Oak High School’s decision to ban flags and other patriotic symbols on campus.

The case arose from a 2010 incident where students wore clothing featuring an American flag during Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday celebrating Mexico victory at the Battle of Puebla. School officials told the students that they would be suspended if they didn’t turn their shirts bearing the flag’s image inside out.

The parents of the students argued that the policy was a violation of the First Amendment.

However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with the parents and instead sided with the high school’s principal, who said the idea was to prevent violence among students. The three-judge panel ruled that the school’s decision to ban all patriotic paraphernalia during the Mexican holiday “kept students safe in a climate of racial tension,” News Fix reports.

William Becker, a lawyer representing one of the students plans to seek a rehearing of the case before a special 11-judge panel of the appeals court. If that doesn’t go through, he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, NBC Bay Area reports.

The ruling has sparked outrage from many across the nation, including ,” USA Today‘s Jonathan Turley, who wrote in an editorial piece that the most disturbing thing about the decision “is that the court entirely misses the distinction between speech and conduct.”

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