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Free speech issue?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
One of my friends has a 17 y/o son: high school senior, honor student and already enlisted in the National Guard. Recently, at a school pep rally, a number of Hispanic students were waving the Mexican flag. "L" whipped out HIS US flag and waved it. HE was told by a teacher to put his flag away but the Hispanic kids were allowed to continue waving theirs. Rightfully (IMO) "L" refused to put his flag away. For this, he was given a three-day suspension.

Am I the only one who finds the actions of the school administration to be reprehensible? My friend isn't going to push it but I think that "L's" free speech rights were violated AND he was subjected to race discrimination, since the Hispanic students were allowed to exhibit the same behavior and weren't censured or disciplined for it.

The courts have already ruled that BURNING the US flag is protected, under the "free speech" right so shouldn't DISPLAYING it be afforded the same protection?
post #2 of 12
I don't know, it sounds funny that only he would get disciplined, although you got the story from the kid's mom, so the story she told was probably pretty biased as it was her son. There normally is a good reason behind a kid getting suspended and it's something she probably didn't want to admit to herself or say.
post #3 of 12
I think it's a sad occurance, and would believe your friend unless she's ever given you cause to distrust her in the past. I'm much more inclined to think it's an instance of political correctness out of control. Waving our own countries flag should be protected as a matter of common sense.
post #4 of 12
The suspension can be justified because he was outrightly disobedient. Schools can do basically anything they want to you if you refuse to obey a direct order from an authority figure (such as, the teacher).

However, the teacher was in the wrong, probably. Unless they make the case that he was being inflammatory, which honestly it sounds like he was (rightly so, perhaps). I know my high school would have handled it by making a rule banning students displaying any flag.

When this sort of thing happens, the absolute best thing to do is to do whatever the person is telling you to do unless it will result in bodily harm, and bring your complaint through the proper circuits later.

For instance, if you are being wrongfully arrested, you don't start resisting arrest. You just win in court later.
post #5 of 12
If the boy really wants to display his patriotism, he will go through proper channels (i.e. the school board) and ask to be heard. Then he will respectfully ask that he be allowed to wave his US flag at future rallies, he can cite being enlisted in the National Guard as proof that he isn't being provocative, just proud of his country. It does sound like he was actually doing the flag-waving in response to the Mexicans' waving their flag. When the Mexicans are waving the flag, it often is an indication that they are feeling ostracized by the general community. As more and more immigrants come into this country, these topics flare up more and more.
Wouldn't it be great if these kids would give up the bickering and create groups to tend to feral cat colonies, do volunteer work throughout the community, etc. Maybe the parents could set an example and show tolerance.
post #6 of 12
This happens a lot in administration. One guy in my class was telling about when he worked for a local school district, an IT support and his supervisor got into a physical fight. The IT Support started it and when the incident was recorded, the word "assault" was used with the support's record.
However, he walked away with a 3 day suspension, paid, and kept his job. The supervisor, labeled victim, was reassigned a new role, away from the support.

Anyhoo, the fact that the student didn't do as the teacher requested I can see resulting in punishment. He should've put away the flag, went to the school board and reported the incident. Then make the request that the Mexican flag should not be waved in U.S. schools. Maybe throw in something along the lines of how unAmerican he feels when he sees another country's flag being waved instead of their own flag. Oh and he should include something about being in the National Guard and reminding the school board that its the U.S. (along with our allies) that are in Iraq, Afghanistastion and maybe soon in Japan or Asia protecting our country...not Mexico.
post #7 of 12
katl8e, that is just another example of why the idea of america is in trouble.
If you have pride in being american you not suppsed to show it, how everyone else get to show there pride in what other country they are from. If you are christen you are not allowed to say it or show, how every one else gets to scream there faith however they want.

How i dont care what race, color, faith etc someones has as i have friends among most of them, its not hard to do when i used to bounce all around the place.

But it seems that here in america now, if you are white, male, a american or christen free speech right does not apply to you any more. What would have happned to that teacher, is that she would have been accused of being racist if they had made the students also take down there flag
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm having breakfast with the young man's father on Sunday and I'm going to suggest that they BOTH go to the next school board meeting and make statements.

MY objection, in this whole incident is that "L" was singled out. The school should either allow ALL national flags or NO national flags.

I'm going to run this past my Hispanic DIL and see what SHE thinks.
post #9 of 12
I'm sorry, what country are we in again? Oh, right. America. Since when does ANY other country's flag get preferential treatment to our own? Hmm, apparently since the whole hubbub about the illegal immigrants started.

Yes, it is most definitely an infringment on his free speech, and a slap in the face to our country, IMO. We helped some friends of ours fight a local middle school when the principal overstepped her authority in banning ALL display of flags by the students, including on shirts. Fortunately, Colorado's legislature had passed a law that said it was illegal to prohibit the display of OUR flag, so there was legal precident that she couldn't do it.
post #10 of 12
Originally Posted by katl8e View Post
MY objection, in this whole incident is that "L" was singled out. The school should either allow ALL national flags or NO national flags.
Precisely it in a nutshell.
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by IloveSiamese View Post
There normally is a good reason behind a kid getting suspended and it's something she probably didn't want to admit to herself or say.
or possibly something he didn't actually tell her!
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
My friend DID speak with the assistant principal (as a single parent, he is VERY involved in his son's life) and was told that "L" was suspended for disobeying a direct order from a teacher, NOT for displaying his flag. I STILL think that the teacher was wrong and that "L" was right in practicing civil disobedience. Sometimes, you just HAVE to take a stand.
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