MORGAN HILL (KPIX 5) — For the second year in a row, American flag waving protesters camped out in front of a Morgan Hill High School Tuesday, this despite a decision by school officials to lift the ban on flag clothing.
The group of about two dozen protesters objected to the school’s 2010 decision to send home students wearing the stars and stripes on Cinco de Mayo over fears that the shirts, head scarves and other apparel were escalating tensions between white and Latino students.
The parents of those students later launched legal challenge attempting to lift the ban but, earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court elected not to take up a challenge to a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found officials’ concerns of racial violence outweighed students’ freedom of expression rights.
Administrators had 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 the holiday.
“What the court case also said that we find totally outrageous is that our American flag is deemed as offensive,” Georgine Scott-Codiga of the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots said outside the school Tuesday.
The onetime students from Live Oak High School had argued that school officials had given a “heckler’s veto” to the objecting students.
But now, administrators say the student relations at the school have improved dramatically, and they’ve lifted the ban on patriotic clothing of any kind.
“Over the last five years the tenor on campus between all the kids has been very good,” Principal Lloyd Webb said.
All of the students involved in the 2010 incident have already graduated and most of the administrators have also moved on.