Published On: Mon, Mar 3rd, 2014

Judge Ruling: School ordering students not to wear US flag shirts did not violate civil rights

A federal appeals judge ruled that a San Francisco high school did not violate civil rights of students by asking them to remove their shirts with US flag on the front during a celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said school officials acted out of legitimate concerns of violence when they sent a handful of students home for refusing to change their American flag-embellished apparel.

“The panel held (that) given the history of prior events at the school, including an altercation on campus, it was reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real,” Judge Margaret McKeown wrote in the unanimous opinion.

Live Oak High School in the town of Morgan Hill, south of San Francisco, had been experiencing gang-related tensions and racially charged altercations between white and Hispanic students at the time.

School officials said they feared the imposition of American patriotic imagery by some students at an event where other students were celebrating their pride in their Mexican heritage would incite fights between the two groups.

Daniel Galli, Austin Carvalho, Matt Dariano, Dominic Maciel and Clayton Howard were all told to reverse their shirts back in 2010. Four refused and chose to go home, which garnered immediate media attention.

The parents of three students later filed suit claiming the school’s actions had violated their children’s federal and state constitutional rights to freedom of expression, equal protection and due process, according to court documents.

Thursday’s opinion upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge James Ware, who ruled in November 2011 that school officials were reasonably fearful that the boys’ clothing would incite violence.

Following the appeals hearing, plaintiffs attorney William Becker, who represents the boys and their families, told the Morgan Hill Times that he was prepared to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

“It’s pretty incredible that the First Amendment rights of students to express their patriotic views has to take the backseat to the rights of students who want to celebrate another nation,” Becker told the paper.


photo Beverly & Pack

photo Beverly & Pack

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. 9th circuit court: It’s legal for school to ban US flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] More on the story HERE […]

  2. ACLJ joins call for California high school to reverse ban on American flag - The Global Dispatch says:

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