A California school principal did not violate the freedom of speech of a group of students who wore American flags on their shirts on Cinco de Mayo when he told them to turn the shirts inside out or go home, a federal judge has ruled.
Citing past clashes between Mexican American and Anglo students over their clothing on the Mexican holiday, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware of San Francisco said school officials “reasonably forecast that (the shirts) could cause a substantial disruption” and were entitled to take steps to prevent it, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Nothing was said in the ruling about wearing shirts with Mexican flags only the American flag shirts were deemed disruptive!
I will admit I quake a little bit when anyone bans display of our national symbols in deference to another nation, due to potential criticism, knee jerk rules, or conflict. I wonder if this school district has an American Flag in each classroom as so many do or offers the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of class each day, note! I said offers the Pledge not requires, although I have never quite figured out why an American would refuse to recite it, as its sentiments are not particularly restrictive. I usually had a class lesson in 5th grade where we actually went through the Pledge word by word and figured out together what the words meant, something I would guess many adults have never done.
I’ll admit that I was a teacher who absolutely did not like kids in sunglasses and hats in my classroom. Though the problems with clothing or lack thereof are much worse now than they were early in my career. I banned sunglasses and hats because I felt it was disruptive of the educational process the same thing cited in the opinion above. Sunglasses, hoods up and hats were banned in my classroom after I discovered through experience that kids often think they are 10 feet tall gained 100 pounds of pure muscle and become absolutely arrogant geniuses when they were wearing hats and their eyes are hidden from view.
I honestly do not have a problem with schools being able to control the sometimes, disruptive, often obscene, drug glorifying and risqué clothing of their students. In fact after observing the calming effects in some inner city schools of uniforms I have slowly become a supporter of that policy when initially I thought it was nothing but expensive window dressing.
My only question with the flag wearing policy is this, will the Latino students be banned from wearing shirts with the Mexican flag or carrying the Mexican Flag in school on Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Presidents Day, and if a year round school The 4th of July? Would the principal deny that apparently potentially disruptive influence was okay, or as often happens now in America under the guise of political correctness and rampant appologism will we once again see and hear that what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander?