MORGAN HILL (CBS SF) — A Morgan Hill high school has constructed a fence to block protesters from disrupting classes on Cinco de Mayo, after plans were announced by a Tea Party group to protest the school’s 2010 decision to send students home for wearing the American flag on the Spanish holiday.
Calls for demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, and even suggestions that a group of motorcyclists will arrive prompted authorities to put the fence around the front of Live Oak High.
“Usually when you put up a fence, it’s a barrier. And, we interpret it as a barrier to keep out the first amendment,” President of the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots, Georgine Scott-Codiga said.
“I don’t believe there’s any need in America to suppress a national symbol of patriotism and freedom,” she said.
The case began in 2010, when four boys wearing t-shirts bearing American flags on Cinco de Mayo, when the school was decked out in Mexican flags, were told to turn the shirts inside-out, or go home.
That led to a court case, decided just recently, suggesting that student safety trumped the first amendment.
Tea Party activists planned a demonstration, prompting latino students to plan a counter-demonstration.
Morgan Hill police wouldn’t comment, but issued a press release, saying “Despite the contrary message that has been depicted, there will be no counter-protest. Both groups conducting demonstrations on Cinco de Mayo – Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patiots and We the People Morgan Hill – have worked cooperatively with law enforcement, the school district land each other.”
One student believed students should be allowed to display any flag they wish.
“We are in a free country, and no matter what day it is, we should all you know, have the right to fly the American flag. But, that being said, the beauty of this country is we could fly any flag on any day,” Live Oak senior Nathan Fisher said.
Some parents have decided to keep their kids home during the holiday.