Wearing an American Flag in an American School gets you sent home? WTF?

What in the hell is wrong with this country? What happened to the freedom of expression, national pride and good ole common sense? Apparently they have gone the way of the albatross and 99 cent a gallon gasoline.

One school has made it clear: You can be proud of your country on any day except Cinco de Mayo. Go figure.

There are not words sufficient to express the outrage I feel at this. When our youth are taught that the cultural sensitivities of other countries take precedence over our own national pride we are in deep s**t. Down this path lies madness.

It's time that we reclaim our government, our schools, and our country from those who are too damned ignorant to understand its greatness.

The following story precipitated the preceding rant:

Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees

On any other day at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Daniel Galli and his four friends would not even be noticed for wearing T-shirts with the American flag. But Cinco de Mayo is not any typical day especially on a campus with a large Mexican American student population.

Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal's office.

"They said we could wear it on any other day," Daniel Galli said, "but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today."

The boys said the administrators called their T-shirts "incendiary" that would lead to fights on campus.

"They said if we tried to go back to class with our shirts not taken off, they said it was defiance and we would get suspended," Dominic Maciel, Galli's friend, said.

The boys really had no choice, and went home to avoid suspension. They say they're angry they were not allowed to express their American pride. Their parents are just as upset, calling what happened to their children, "total nonsense."

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous," Julie Fagerstrom, Maciel's mom, said. "All they were doing was displaying their patriotic nature. They're expressing their individuality."

But to many Mexican-American students at Live Oak, this was a big deal. They say they were offended by the five boys and others for wearing American colors on a Mexican holiday.

"I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day," Annicia Nunez, a Live Oak High student, said. "We don't deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn't do that on Fourth of July."

As for an apology, the boys and their families say, 'fat chance.'

"I'm not going to apologize. I did nothing wrong," Galli said. "I went along with my normal day. I might have worn an American flag, but I'm an American and I'm proud to be an American."

The five boys and their families met with a Morgan Hill Unified School District official Wednesday night. The district and the school dp not see eye-to-eye on the incident and released the following statement:

The district does not concur with the Live Oak High School administration's interpretation of either board or district policy related to these actions.

The boys will not be suspended and were allowed to return to school Thursday. We spotted one of them when he got to campus -- and, yes, he was sporting an American flag T-shirt.


  1. I'll suggest one possible reason that this isn't necessarily madness. If this is indeed a school with a large Mexican-American population, perhaps there are ethnic tensions among the student body that the administration is seeking not to exacerbate. If the students wearing the American flag T-shirts were doing so with the express intent of antagonizing the Mexican-American students, or if wearing the American flag T-shirts could plausibly have that effect, then the administration was just doing its job of trying to keep the peace. If you've ever dealt with large numbers of adolescent boys, you will understand why this is not a trivial thing at all.

    Notice that I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, simply trying to point out that this is not necessarily a WTF moment. For what it's worth, it has not been my experience that Mexican-American students are unpatriotic or that they have a particular affinity for Cinco de Mayo. Moreover, I was taught in the Boy Scouts that wearing the flag as an article of clothing or as a logo was disrespectful and demeaning to the flag itself. Any other thoughts?

  2. Uh... maybe that would be a problem if they lived in Mexico. MAYBE. If there were pompous assholes in Mexico then it would be a problem if it happened in Mexico. But this is the US, and they were wearing US shirts.

    I'm deathly surprised that there were people who were actually offended at the display of our nation's flag, holiday or no holiday.

  3. If it's like many schools I attended, not only was this NOT a coordinated effort by the boys, but it is also likely that they wear these shirts on a regular basis.

    If someone is offended by a symbol that gives them the freedoms they currently enjoy, it's quite possible they've forgotten and taken it for granted.

    Why have pride in the country that drove you out with corruption and violence? Why stand by Mexico when Mexico doesn't want to be your home and doesn't care if you live or die?

    Sorry. I can't be sensitive when the problem IS the country they're defending. They don't even want to BE there. And rightly so... who would?

    Sorry, you don't get a new one. Fight the corruption where it is, or find pride in the new home that loves you.

  4. Gentlemen:

    I don't mean my comment above to sound like anyone had the right to get offended, Cinco de Mayo or no. Actually, I agree with you, mostly. It's just that I frankly doubt that what is driving a bunch of high school boys--either the ones who are supposedly offended by a display of American patriotism, or the ones who are so patriotic that they can't refrain from wearing the flag all over their adolescent chests--is a question of simple patriotism. I think it's far more likely that there are cliques, in-groups and out-groups in the school, and that the T-shirt controversy is an outgrowth of these other social dynamics. We see this all the time, including whenever some kid wants to wear her "I am a proud lesbian" shirt and the principal sends her home and she runs crying to the ACLU. If I were the principal, I think my priority would be to make sure that the school could operate in peace, not to worry about superficial displays of patriotism on T-shirts. All in all, I think this is a good rationale for having all the kids wear school uniforms and to heck with all the squabbling over T-shirts.

  5. I would agree if it were the policy of the school that American flag shirts not be worn as a matter of decorum. My children attend a school with a dress code and those types of shirts (along with the proud lesbian shirts) are prohibited. The problem is this school is saying you can wear what you want when you want except for this particular day. It is a matter of bowing to pressures of special interests and fear of litigation. That makes it unconscionable in my opinion. Either ban them all the time or none of the time but at least be consistent.

  6. Ha ha ha! You're all so deluded. You're country is done for. Good luck when Palin is president. Patriotic morons.

  7. I am absolutely appalled after reading this. We have kids that same age fighting and dying overseas for that flag as we speak. They fight for the very right for US citizens to enjoy the freedoms we have (including having a little pride and wearing the Red White & Blue). If you Mexican-Americans are offended by that, go back to Mexico.

  8. Bookie--lest we forget, a good number of the people fighting and dying overseas for that flag are themselves Mexican-Americans.

  9. I attended Live Oak High School over ten years ago. Most of the teachers preached sensitivity, but they also all knew the law, and were shrewd enough to turn a situation like this into a unifying learning experience.

    From what I remember, Cinco De Mayo is the Mexican equivalent of the 4th of July for us. It is a Mexican national holiday. The schools and communities of the United States of America permit this Mexican holiday to be celebrated here as a courtesy to our national Neighbors and our fellow Countrymen of Mexican descent.

    Celebrations of Freedom should bring us together.

    Red White and Blue, or Red White and Green, are not gang colors and they are not hood rags. They are proud symbols of Freedom from European colonial oppression. We should teach our children to share the joy of Freedom regardless of its country of origin.

    4th of July is not an excuse to be angry with people who are not American. Cinco de Mayo is not an excuse to be angry with people who are not Mexican.

    If there are students acting in an 'incendiary' manner, they obviously need discipline. If there are students wearing offensive clothing, (like a flag with a big middle finger on it) by all means make them turn it inside out, take it off or go home.

    As for the flag, it is nearly inviolate.

    Regardless of local sign laws, car dealerships around the country sport American Flags big enough to cover a large house. They can do this because the Federal Government does not place, nor does it permit, restrictions on the display of the American Flag. National Pride is not subdued in its own nation. The fact that we allow the Mexican Flag to fly over American soil on a Mexican holiday is a testament to the courtesy and tolerance of the American people and our way of life. Is it too much to ask for that same courtesy in return?

    Please circulate this blog and its comments unedited on Live Oak High School campus. Take this message of unity and freedom to your Principal, your Civics Teachers, your Counselors, and your friends. Ask your Teachers to make time for serious discussion and debate.

    Don't let colors tear you apart.

    Let freedom bring you together.

    (This is what we were taught at Live Oak.)

    Class of '99

  10. Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in Mexico except in the state of Puebla. It's an American holiday. The students in question were indeed attempting to antagonize the Hispanic students. Imagine if you will wearing a Union Jack T-shirt to a St. Patrick's day celebration in Boston. Same thing. The students got just what they deserved.


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