- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Northern California school that banned a handful of students from wearing T-shirts that showcased the U.S. flag on the Hispanic-based holiday, Cinco de Mayo day, is headed to court Thursday, to defend their order that the now-graduated individuals go home and change.

The school’s argument during the 2010 matter was that racial tensions and gang problems plagued the student body at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, located 20 miles outside of San Jose, The Associated Press reported.

So when administrators caught wind that some of the altercations experienced on Cinco de Mayo day may have been rooted in the wearing of U.S. flag shirts by three students, their reaction was quick: Either turn the tees inside out, or go home and change, they told the kids, AP reported.

The students went home — but the incident played out in the national press as a question of political correctness versus First Amendment freedoms.

The trio eventually sued, alleging their free speech and equal protection rights were violated.

A lower court tossed the suit in December of 2011, determining the school acted in the best interest of the student body at large. But the students — who have since graduated — didn’t drop the matter, and the case heads to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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