Ninth Circuit sides with school in banning American flag on Cinco de Mayo.


I understand that the school has leeway in protecting the students, but in upholding this they are legitimizing the potential violence that might arise from kids wearing t-shirts with the American flag on them. The school is allowing themselves to be blackmailed by a group of students who threaten violence. What if a gang in a school threatened violence if a students wore a certain color on a particular day, would the school then be justified in sending home all kids that wore that color shirt to school? This is both asinine and cowardly. If violence is a problem at a school, send home the kids who threaten the violence, not the kids who are expressing their first amendment rights. And this over something as benign as wearing a representation of the country’s flag to school. This episode reads like an article from The Onion.

The school officials have their heads up their asses. And the 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit just joined them.

A question for the lawyers here, what do you think the odds are that the full panel of judges will agree with this? And how about the Supreme Court? I can’t see ho the threat of violence can trump the first amendment. Thoughts?

In the case of student apparel, schools seem to have very broad authority to restrict students to avoid disruption, let alone violence. I tend to be very eye-rolley about that authority, but the ruling doesn’t surprise me.

I am going to have to forward this one to the folks I know who are actually from Mexico, as they are flabbergasted by CdM celebrations here.

Here is a potentially relevant case:

“In Guiles v. Marineau, 461 F.3d 320 (2d. Cir. 2006), cert. denied by 127 S.Ct. 3054 (2007), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States protect the right of a student in the public schools to wear a shirt insulting the President of the United States and depicting images relating to drugs and alcohol.”

Sounds pretty stupid, but I don’t know if the court is condoning the school’s actions – they’re just saying that it’s not in violation of the law, and that schools apparently have pretty broad powers to restrict certain forms of speech on campus.

The school should probably outlaw wearing flags in general (or institute a uniform, which is probably an even better idea) if they want to outlaw one flag to prevent violence, but the court may be right about the legal aspect.

Thank you for the inaccurate and inflammatory title. As far as I know they did not order that the U.S. flag be lowered on that day, did they?

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

What do you think these teenagers are going to do? Of course they will find some other way to wear something similar to, but not identical to, the US Flag. I can’t see this holding up to a 1st amendment challenge at the SCOTUS.

Stop making sense.

Interesting principle to establish - if I don’t like what you say, all I need to do is target you, and the authorities will shut you down.

“Oh, you want to wear a T-shirt with a rainbow flag on it? Someone might beat you up if you do that. So we will outlaw your T-shirt.” Is someone sexually harassing you? Your T-shirt is too tight, so go change it. Etc.


Yep. Courts really love to give schools vast power over people required to attend. It’s always troubled me, but I guess this isn’t quite as bad as trying to punish kids for things they do while away form School.

Hmmm. If only the title was followed up by an explanation. And maybe even a link so people could get the full story.

In other words, :rolleyes: *

*The old roll-eyes was much better.

I think the Supreme Court already agreed, when they decided Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. This decision follows the rule enunciated in that decision: that schools can forbid conduct that would “…materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”

It’s unfortunate, because this is a classic example of a heckler’s veto. But in the context of school operations, the Supreme Court has already placed the First Amendment below the need of the school to ensure safety and education free of disruption.

In other words, inserting the word “shirts” wouldn’t have been half as inflammatory, but it might have come closer to what the thread was really about.

Thanks for the term “Heckler’s Veto”. I was unaware of it.

As far as Tinker, I’m confused. Didn’t SCOTUS side with Tinker and the other students and find that the students’ First Amendment rights were, indeed, violated?

This link is in line with the others I checked:

What am I missing?

Well, if the parents and kids have any cajones (sp?) they will wear them anyway.

And bandanas and jackets and sneakers and socks and hats and belts and shoelaces? Please.

Now, if—IF—you were generally oh-so-confused by the thread title, your confusion was straightened out two seconds after you clicked on it. But if you think I believe for one nanosecond that you were genuinely oh-so-confused by it, you’d be very wrong about that.

Students trolling, school administration being stupid. Sounds like they all need a good punch in the tits. To me, this is the ultimate in absurd results, but I’d make the kids wear uniforms anyway.

I never said I was confused about the thread title-in fact, I knew immediately that it was inaccurate and inflammatory because I had already read the story. It’s not my “confusion” that needed straightening out, but nice try on trying to shift the focus on me.

People should keep in mind that the school did have a history of problems with white students deliberately trying to get the goats of Mexican-American students through the use of American flag imagery.

Just a year before this case they nearly had some fights when on Cinqo De Mayo a group of Anglos had made a point of holding up an American flag and chanting “USA” “USA” at several Mexican-American students.

Now, the claim in light of the school’s history that the students(one of whom is theoretically part Hispanic) who came to the school on Cinqo De Mayo of all days wearing those T-shirts were doing this merely to “show their patriotism” rather than trying to yank the chains of Mexican-American students is simply not credible.

Obviously, this was a questionable call on the part of the school, but they do have an interest in preventing xenophobic punks from trying provoke other students and preventing fights.

I suggest the OP not bother with the diversion about the thread title, since no one else in the thread cares and we are having an interesting discussion.

This is the part that influenced that court, in my opinion. I noticed this quote from the OP’s link

and I wonder how he would respond to being asked, “What about if the t-shirts were being worn because of what day it is?”

But only the Anglo students were punished. From your link:

So both sides were being assholes (or more accurately - high school aged boys).

And here again the Anglo students were confronted, but they are the ones the have to change.

That is why this is controversial. The school didn’t cancel the ceremony, didn’t make the Hispanic students calm down - they just ordered the students with the American flag to change. That is going to trigger a problem.

I have followed this a little bit - it sounds to me like a bunch of kids on both sides deserved to be punished in some fashion for being idiots (or, once again, high school aged boys). It is the appearance of selective punishment of only one side that makes this a story, plus the addition of Old Glory.