Can a school ban the American flag on 5/5? The Ninth Circuit hears arguments today..

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by g8rjd, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    A VERY interesting case out of California is being heard at oral argument before the Ninth Circuit. Based on what they determined to be credible threats of a disruption, school officials in California, in a public school with a very large Mexican population, had non-Mexican students who were deciding to wear American flag garb on Cinco De Mayo and banned those students from wearing American flags that day.

    As a little bit of background, the law is that students do not forfeit their constitutional rights when entering the schoolhouse gates. However, those rights are significantly diminished, particularly where exercising them interferes with the schools educational mission and/or results in disruptions (such as fights, etc.) And, in order to curb that, school officials are given significant deference in their decisionmaking process to deal with such disruptions, even when they impact the student's constitutional rights.

    Those issues have caused the parties to frame the issue quite differently. The students frame it as: "The fact of the matter is that these Americans were punished for wearing the American flag at an American school."

    The school officials, on the other hand, address it as: "This is not a case about the flag, or the First Amendment rights of adults in a public forum. 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 a history of violence."

    The case really is a tough one. The First Amendment is obviously precious and this is clearly a content-based restriction by school administrators. But, on the other hand, if you were a school administrator who would be responsible for what you have determined to be a credible threat and a history of violence, that the students were, essentially, inciting violence in the context (even through the patriotic act of wearing an American flag), should you eliminate the problem by stoping the speech?

    The argument will be interesting and will be available online. I'll post it if anyone is interested.

    For some more information about the case:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCHOOL_CLOTHING_FLAP?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  2. Swamper
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    Swamper New Member

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    a school is not bound to display any flag, including the american flag.
  3. PSGator66
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    PSGator66 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty sad in this day and age where we take in people from another country give them the government benefits but won't respect the American flag.
  4. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    Oooh a case likely to result in extensive citation to "Bong Hits 4 Jesus."

    :laugh:
  5. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    It's not whether the school is displaying the flag. Please actually read what I wrote.
  6. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    I thought about that too! :) I wonder if they'll discuss those facts at the argument... ;)
  7. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    I know it isn't a constitutional law concept per se, but can we get judicial notice that a government school prohibiting display of the US flag on any day, is a dick move?
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  8. wgbgator
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    wgbgator Sub-optimal Poster Premium Member

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    Did the school administration cite student safety as the concern in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case?
  9. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    This poster takes notice of that.

    ;)
  10. g8orbill
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    It is ree dik ih luss that in the USA we should even begin to cow tow to any group that gets to enjoy our freedoms and denigrate our flag - but then we are dealing with educators
  11. TJtheGator
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    TJtheGator Well-Known Member

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    Sad that these so called "Mexican" students don't even know that Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican independence day. Mexican independence day happens to fall on September 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory at the Battle of Puebla over........drum-roll......the French!

    I'm not Mexican (or Mexican-American) and I happen to know that.

    As far as not displaying the American flag, bus them all accross the border and see what they say. They'll be begging to come back in 2 seconds.
  12. gatorman_07732
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    gatorman_07732 Well-Known Member

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    This makes me sad
  13. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    They did not, they argued that it could be banned because of the school's interest in dissuading students from illegal drug use.

    There's a bit of a split as to how far out the Morse holding should reach, but it wouldn't be a patently unreasonable reading to argue that the same reasoning is similarly applicable to speech that would threaten the safety of students and teachers or fundamentally interfere with the school's educational mission.
  14. MichiGator2002
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    Honestly, if I was a parent of a student at that school, I would take up a collection to hire freaking skywriters to draw a flag in the air or carry flag signs behind the plans, or all of the above. Bet they would cut you a break on price.
  15. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    Okay...that is likely my ignorance in the original post. I'll edit to correct.

    Mea culpa.
  16. AzCatFan
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    AzCatFan Well-Known Member

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    First off, Mexican Independence Day is September 15th. Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is a celebration of the Mexicans defeating the French in the Battle of Puebla. Mexico ultimately lost the war, and Cinco de Mayo isn't a big celebration in Mexico outside of the Yucatan. But it's a big day to sell Mexican beer and margaritas in the US.

    Second, I think the school is over-reacting here. People of Mexican heritage should be allowed to display their pride, just like anyone should be allowed to display American pride. And wearing a US flag shirt on May 5th isn't anything anti-Mexican. And as long as all the students can be friendly, there should be room for both American and Mexican pride.

    Regardless, the school is within its rights to restrict what students wear. Students at school do not have free speech, and there are student newspaper precedents that have been set, plus school uniform cases. But the school decided to rule from potential fear rather than try and make this a learning lesson.
  17. g8rjd
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    g8rjd Well-Known Member

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    I would respectfully suggest you are not correct on this point. Tinker v. Des Moines Indpendent School District may be one you want to read.

    But, don't worry, I made a mistake that you pointed out in your first paragraph. No one's perfect. ;)
  18. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Some raging children, many of whom for which "Mexico" is more hipster fad than genuine nationalism of some kind, can wear their flags if they want. But honestly, I would rather see a school make the US flag a part of a mandatory school uniform in response to any idiot suggesting our own flag is "offensive" on a government buikding, than to actually enable it.
  19. philnotfil
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    philnotfil Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you right now that the court is going to side with the school. As long as the school can make a reasonable claim that the action by the student will be disruptive, then they can legally do just about anything they want to.
  20. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    This is a good point to discuss the real ideological makeup of the country and how it is or isn't reflected in politics. If we were to poll the country around, not whether or not the school is "right", but whether the school had even the slightest hint of any sort of legitimate argument whatsoever, I bet probably 60% or more would say the school is completely wrong and that not only are they not "right", that their position is completely absurd.

    But I bet a poll of the 535 in the House and Senate, the administration, most of the upper bureaucracy, would break mostly along party lines but all would consider it a valid discussion, something a reasonable person could be on either side of.

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