South Bay News

Students sent home for wearing American flag shirts

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Five students were sent home from Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill on Wednesday for wearing American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

One day later, tension on campus still bristles. About 50 students carrying a Mexican flag walked out of classes Thursday morning.

Some Mexican-American students ABC7 spoke with felt it was disrespectful of the boys to wear the American flag shirts, like wearing it in the face of others celebrating Mexican heritage.

Austin Carvalho, one of the boys sent home, says he and the others were pulled aside by Vice Principal Miguel Rodriguez, who told them the shirts posed a safety issue.

"He said we could do it any other day but yesterday because we were supposed to respect their Mexican culture," Carvalho said.

But many are calling the school's action hypocritical because dozens of other students wore red, white and green, the colors on Mexico's flag, and were not sent home. Some had even painted the Mexican flag on their faces or arms.

"If they made them, like, all the Hispanic-Americans take off their red, white and green also then I maybe wouldn't have had a problem with it," Carvalho said.

"If they, people, can wear a Mexican flag in America, we should be able to wear an American flag wherever we want to go, right?" parent Diana Fedalizo asked.

"I don't think that it should cause fights; I think that everybody has the right to be who they are, and we are in America," parent Carol Clevett said.

The students wearing the flag shirts were given an option to turn their shirts inside out, or go home. They refused, claiming it was a violation of their First Amendment rights.

"We thought we could be able to wear the American flag whenever we want in America," Carvalho said.

The Morgan Hill Unified School District has come out backing the students, disagreeing with how the school handled the situation.

Now parents are asking for action.

"We demand that this assistant principal be fired," parent Donnie Croft said. "It's crazy, crazy the day you get kicked out of school for wearing red white and blue. Come on."

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morgan hill, south bay news, teresa garcia
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