Monterey County

American-Flag Shirt Controversy Over After Ruling

Judges Rule In favor Of School District

MORGAN HILL, Calif. - They were told to "take off their shirts or go home."

Now, four years after several families in Morgan Hill sued the Live Oak School District for not allowing their students to wear American Flag t-shirts on Cinco De Mayo, a federal appeals court says high school officials acted appropriately.

The students claimed their free speech rights were violated.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that officials' concerns of 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. Live Oak High School in the San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill had a history of problems between white and Latino students on that day.

The unanimous three-judge panel said past problems gave school officials sufficient and justifiable reasons for their actions. The court said schools have wide latitude in curbing certain civil rights to ensure campus safety.

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