At the Live Oak public high school in northern California, school officials allowed Mexican American students to parade around displaying a Mexican flag on a Mexican holiday. So on the same holiday the following year, a few patriotic students wore T-shirts containing images of the American flag, in order to stand up for the United States. The assistant principal asked the students to conceal the image of the American flag by either turning the shirts inside-out, or removing them altogether. The students declined to turn their backs on the United States. They were then ordered to see the assistant principal in his office. After a 90-minute discussion session with the students, including one parent, the principal ordered two of the students to go home for the day.
Has the American flag become so controversial that it may be censored in our own American public schools? Several students sued, asserting their First Amendment right to display an image of the American flag. In the lawsuit, it came out that the students had encountered hostility from other students merely for displaying the American flag. Due to the possibility of conflict, the court upheld the school’s ban of American flag T-shirts. But why didn’t the school instead end the observances of the Mexican holiday rather than censoring the American flag?