Rally Around the Flag... Except on May 5

Rally Around the Flag... Except on May 5

Well, it's nearly that time of year again … Cinco de Mayo. The time of year when Americans of Mexican descent wear their Mexican lineage proudly while repudiating their American citizenship. Freedom X is squarely in the middle of this cultural drama. On May 5, 2010, four students attending Live Oak High School in the San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill, California, wore their American flag clothing to school. The school's assistant principal, Miguel Rodriguez, ordered the boys to invert their t-shirts or leave school so that the "Mexican" students celebrating Cinco de Mayo could enjoy "their day." The boys refused Rodriquez's order and two of them, whose clothing explicitly showed the American flag, were sent home.

Freedom X came to the aid of the boys and their parents, patriots who were naturally outraged by the school's actions. We filed a lawsuit on their behalf against the Morgan Hill Unified School District, the school's principal, Nick Boden, and its assistant principal, Rodriguez, in United States District Court in San Francisco. The federal lawsuit alleges that the boys' First Amendment right of freedom of expression and their 14th Amendment rights of due process and equal protection had been violated. Judge James Ware threw out the lawsuit and we appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel heard oral argument last October and on February 27, 2014, issued its written opinion affirming the trial court judge's dismissal of the case. The panel held that a history of prior events at the school, including an altercation on campus, justified the school's order to conceal the American flag on Cinco de Mayo.

Freedom X filed a petition for en banc review with the 9th Circuit seeking reconsideration of the appeal by a panel of 11 judges and is awaiting a decision from the court.

Meanwhile …

Led by Georgine Scott-Codiga, a group calling itself the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots recently announced plans to hold a peaceful rally near Live Oak High School on Cinco de Mayo in support of our lawsuit, free speech and the American flag. The announcement immediately triggered shouts of protest from liberal activists threatening to mount a "counter-protest" to promote "unity" (a non-sequitur).

Freedom X has been retained by Ms. Scott-Codiga and the Patriots to ensure their First Amendment rights are protected and that their rally will not be disrupted. The Morgan Hill Police Department has advised Freedom X that it intends to "work collaboratively with those involved to ensure a safe learning environment for students and a peaceful protest for those who attend the event."

Although the people opposing the flag rally claim they want to unify the community with their message, listen to them at a recent school board meeting, where Scott-Codiga challenged them on it.

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