Friday, May 7, 2010

Why I support the Live Oak High 5

In case you haven't heard:

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."

It seems like a rather simple issue to me.  As far as the article goes, the students weren't causing any problems or trying to provoke anyone.  No fights broke out, and the article doesn't mention anything about anyone challenging them or exchanging words with them.  Still the teachers and principal decided to punish five students because there was the possibility there could be violence.  Not even because the threat of violence primarily stemmed from the five students in patriotic clothing, but just the threat of violence in general, which seems a whole lot like punishing someone for the potential actions of another.

Simple right?  The teachers are wrong, they should apologize, and everyone should move on with their lives.

Yet there is an opposite side to this.  People argue that the students were looking to start trouble simply by choosing to wear the clothes that day.  Of course there is some truth to that since the odds of them accidentally wearing those shirts on Cinco de Mayo are slim, but it doesn't really matter.  That entire point is irrelevant.

It doesn't matter why they choose to wear the shirts.  The students were fully within their rights to wear the clothing to begin with, and didn't break any rules while attending school.  Had the students acted in some manner which alarmed the staff then perhaps there would of been validation to threaten suspension or send them home.  Even if the students had been attacked you could of asked them to take off the shirts, but certainly not forced them to.  But nothing happened.

I would contrast that with this story:

Yesterday, a listener’s son was offended that his school, Klein Collins High School, displayed the Mexican flag prominently.  His mother called to complain, and the school wouldn’t return her call.  The student took the sign down.

The school pitched a fit, reviewed the surveillance tapes, found the student, and suspended him for 3 days.  AND he has to pay for the flag.  In light of the SF story of students sent home for wearing the AMERICAN flag because it offended the Hispanic students, I thought you’d like to know about a story closer to home.

In this case the student didn't have any right to act the way he did.  The school didn't do anything wrong by hanging that flag there, and so were completely within their right to put it up. Just because the student doesn't like it and finds it offensive doesn't mean he has the right to take it down.  Likewise just because some students or teachers find some clothing offensive doesn't mean they have the right to coerce the students if they haven't done anything wrong.  It's a very simple, very logical thing however it didn't stop hispanic students at Life Oak high from protesting and demanding "respect".

Respect?  Where is the respect in getting offended over people expressing patriotism over the nation they live in?  And just where is the respect in imposing your political correctness on others?

Nevermind, I forgot about the double standard.

Final thought:  Where's the ACLU's statement?

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