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Thursday, December 2, 2021
HomeOpinionCan The American Flag Become Banned From Public Schools?

Can The American Flag Become Banned From Public Schools?

american flag banned

Can the American flag become banned from public schools?

The 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals will consider California school’s American flag ban.

Three students from Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, CA arrived for class in 2010 wearing American flag t-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, which caused unpleasant reactions from teachers and student-teacher altercations.

The students told the school administrators they believed the problem started because of their American flag shirts, and they were instructed to turn their shirts inside out or go home. Instead of turning their shirts inside out they opted for the latter.

This incident caught fire, creating a national debate and catching the attention of the media.

These students have already graduated, yet in San Francisco, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider their lawsuit, alleging the school violated their free speech and equal protections rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

A lower court tossed out the students’ lawsuit in December 2011, ruling that school administrators have wide legal latitude to ensure the safety and effective operation of their campuses, and a perceived threat of violence vindicated the principal’s decision.

Chief Judge James Ware, who tossed out the case, noted, “Our Constitution grants public school children only limited First Amendment rights when they enter the schoolhouse gates,” while conceding this particular case has landed in “important legal territory.”

University of California, law professor and free speech expert Eugene Volokh calls this punishment a ‘heckler’s veto.’ Speakers in public are protected from such restrictions and allowed to voice most opinions. On campuses, students do not enjoy the same free speech rights — they have designated areas where they may express their free speech and that is only after they fill out a lengthy form.

Volokh also stated, “A school may restrict a student’s speech, to prevent unruly disruptions.” He believes that sometimes administrators can go too far, that some are quick to censor a cause that is not even enough to warrant such actions.

“The fact of the matter is that these Americans were punished for wearing the American flag at an American school,” Volokh said. This is more than just censorship, when student are allowed to wear provocative clothing, yet three students are chastised for showing their patriotism.

All of the lawyers working this case work for three separate nonprofit legal centers: The Tomas More Law Center , American Freedom Law, and Freedom X.

William J. Becker Jr., of the newly formed Freedom X organization, referred to the judge’s ruling a result of  “unfortunately too wrapped up in political correctness.”

Public schools seem to have a stigma lacking patriotism, from students t-shirts to the Pledge of Allegiance, Becker argues that to censor students’ free speech rights, an actual and “immediate” threat of violence or disruption has to be apparent.

The true battle that Becker is fighting he states clearly, “The students in this case were deprived of their Constitutional rights simply by displaying their patriotism.”

The school’s district lawyer’s tactics are dismissive of the flag, or the First Amendment rights, stating, “This is a case about whether we allow school administrators, familiar with the circumstances in their schools, to take reasonable steps to protect student safety in the face of threats and history of violence.”

This statement leaves me baffled, which raises several questions if we are to believe the administrators would make the reasonable steps:

1. Wouldn’t the reasonable step be to call in the students that were causing the problem and send them home with a suspension?

2. Why did the three students which were being bullied sent home vs. the bullies?

3. What message did this send the youth of our nation?

Patriotism is something to be proud of, not looked down upon, the school administrators made the wrong decision by defending the bullies and not helping the three students that simply are proud to be Americans. Since when is it tabu to where the American Flag?

Written by

Laura Lee Baris is the Assistant Editor at People's Pundit Daily (PPD) and the Producer of "Inside the Numbers" with the People's Pundit. Laura covers politics, entertainment, culture and women's issues. She is also married to the People's Pundit, Richard D. Baris, and a mother to their two beautiful children.

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