SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court is considering whether to revive a lawsuit by the parents of three former Northern California high school students who were ordered to remove T-shirts with the American flag on Cinco de Mayo.
Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, south of San Jose, had been struggling with racial tensions and gang troubles when the 2010 incident occurred. School officials, told by students that the flag T-shirts could be incendiary, ordered the students to turn them inside out or go home.
The students went home, and their parents sued. A trial judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling school officials have wide latitude to protect student safety. But the students appealed, arguing their 1st Amendment rights were violated.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal was scheduled to hearing arguments in the case Thursday but a ruling is not expected for months.
The students have since graduated, but their case sparked wide debate among pundits about patriotism and free speech at the time. The boys’ parents said they were simply expressing their love for their country and were not trying to denigrate the Mexican heritage of other students.