A federal court has ruled that a California public school had the authority to prevent students from wearing clothing emblazoned with pro-American messages on the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo.
U. S. District Court Judge James Ware was ruling in a case involving students at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, just south of San Jose, who were banned from wearing American flag t-shirts on May 5, 2010.
The judge determined that the Morgan Hill Unified School District decision to ban displaying the flag on clothing did not violate the First Amendment, and said that concerns by school officials over possible violence justified censoring the pro-American message.
“The school officials reasonable forecast that Plaintiff’s clothing could cause a substantial disruption with school activities, and therefore did not violate the standard set forth – by requiring that Plaintiff’s change,” the judge wrote.
“This is nothing more than political correctness,” said John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. His organization, along with Thomas More Law Center, represented the students and their families in the lawsuit.
“If these kinds of decisions are upheld, they will destroy our First Amendment rights,” Whitehead told Fox News.
The lawsuit stems from an incident that generated national attention last May when three students wore patriotic t-shirts, and red, white, and blue shorts and shoes to class.
The teens were told by assistant principal Miguel Rodriguez to either remove their t-shirts or turn them inside out.
“The students were told their shirts would offend Hispanics,” Whitehead said.
The students refused. At that point, they were ordered to the office where Rodriguez lectured the kids on Cinco de Mayo, and told them that their clothing would offend Latino students on “their” day.
The school district maintained their only concern was student safety – and that’s why they asked the boys to change their shirts.
Wes Smith, the superintendent of the school district, told Fox News that he is “very satisfied with the decision.”
“We were encouraged to hear that the federal court found student safety paramount,” Smith said. “The other finding – that we did not infringe or deny students their First Amendment rights was also encouraging.”
Now, I ask this question: what did this lesson teach the students at Live Oak High School? That the First Amendment can be shut down at any time in the name of political correctness!
Cinco De Mayo is a manufactured “holiday,” propagated by marketing firms out to sell taco chips and beer. In Mexico, the date is only noteworthy to those living in the state of Puebla, where the day is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence day, that occurs on September 16.