Five students who wore American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo were sent home from a California high school, reports the GilroyDispatch. Live Oak High School in middle-class Morgan Hill is 43 percent non-Hispanic white and 40 percent Hispanic.
“They said we were starting a fight, we were fuel to the fire,” said sophomore Matt Dariano.
The boys refused to turn their T-shirts inside-out, saying it was disrespectful to the flag.
More than 100 students were spotted wearing red, white and green as they were leaving school. Some had the Mexican flag painted on their faces or on their arms.
. . . One Mexican-American student, freshman Laura Ponce, had a Mexican flag painted on her face and chest, peaking out of her low-cut shirt. She did it because, “it’s our day, the only day we can show our spirit.” A school administrator took away the Mexican flag she was carrying as she was waiting to go home. Ponce said: “not cool.”
Some students yelled “Mexico sucks,” reports the Dispatch. Mexican-American students yelled insults back in Spanish.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, the school hosted folklorico dancers, who waved Mexican flags and played Mexican music. Apparently, it didn’t ease the tension.
California gives students broad free speech rights, which the school apparently violated, writes Eugene Volokh.