Opinion

Supremes refuse to hear appeal of students ordered to hide US flag T-shirts

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the appeal from a group of California high school students who were ordered to turn T-shirts depicting the American flag inside-out.

girl w: us glasses

The T-shirt ban came from authorities at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., during a Mexican Cinco de Mayo celebration, according to The Associated Press, which reported:

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place an appellate ruling that found that school officials acted appropriately because their concerns about racial violence outweighed students’ freedom of expression rights. Administrators feared the American-flag shirts would enflame the passions of Latino students celebrating the Mexican holiday.

Technically, the Supreme Court’s refusal to take up a matter is not an affirmation of the lower court’s ruling, although it has that effect by making the previous decision final.

The justices met Friday to discuss the case, Dariano vs. Morgan Hills School District. Although the case involved significant First Amendment issues, it failed to win the approval of the four out of nine justices it needed to get the case on the docket, according to Yahoo News, which reported:

The controversy goes back to a May 2009 incident between two groups of students at Live Oak High School. At a school-sponsored Cinco de Mayo event, a Mexican-American student walked around campus with the flag of Mexico and other students flew a makeshift United States flag in response and chanted at the flag-bearing student. Students on both sides complained about the incident.

A year later, several students came to school on Cinco de Mayo wearing American flag shirts and school officials told the students to remove the American flag shirts, or turn the shirts inside out. The educators said the American flag shirts could send a message that would offend the Cinco de Mayo celebrants and they had public safety concerns.

The parents of the American flag-wearing students sued on their behalf, alleging First Amendment violations by the Morgan Hill School District.

Ironically, the Ninth Circuit Court issued its ruling in the matter on Sept. 17 — Constitution Day. Following that decision, The Daily Caller published this video report:

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