SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The United States Supreme Court has denied an appeal from former Morgan Hill high school students who were ordered to turn their American flag tee-shirts inside out during Cinco de Mayo celebration at their school in 2010.

The justices did not comment on their decision Monday that leaves in place an appellate ruling that found that school officials acted appropriately.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the officials’ concerns of racial violence outweighed students’ freedom of expression rights. Administrators feared the American-flag shirts would inflame the passions of Latino students celebrating the Mexican holiday. Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill had a history of problems between white and Latino students on that day.

The onetime students from Live Oak High School had argued that school officials had given a “heckler’s veto” to the objecting students. Just last year, the Tea Party Patriots group staged a protest over the decision.

“This is a real statement that above all, everything that happens on a school campus, the administrators have to consider student safety as their number one priority,” superintendent Steve Betando told KPIX 5.

All of the students involved in the 2010 incident have already graduated and most of the administrators have moved on.

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