SCOTUS rejects students' American flag free speech appeal

SCOTUS rejects students' American flag free speech appeal
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The Supreme Court has denied an appeal from California high school students who argue that school officials violated their right to free speech when they made them turn American flag T-shirts inside out.


On Cinco de Mayo in 2010, three white students came to Live Oak High School in American flag T-shirts. Because the school has a history of gang violence between whites and Hispanics, school officials were afraid the shirts would anger Hispanic students celebrating the Mexican holiday and told the white students to either turn their shirts inside out or take them off.

The Supreme Court justices did not comment on their decision to reject the appeal in Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District and leave the ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in place.

The appellate judges 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.

Despite arguments from the students' parents that the school violated their children's First and 14th amendment rights, the judges held that school officials anticipated violence or substantial disruption of school activities and their response was tailored to the circumstances.

The 14 Amendment gives U.S. citizens equal protection under the law.