CA - American students catch heat for wearing red, white & blue on Cinco de Mayo

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by tlcya, May 7, 2010.

  1. LinasK

    LinasK Verified insider- Mark Dribin case

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    No, you gave generalized examples, not a specific march/speech which provoked violence simply by wanting to be heard.
     


  2. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    I cringe when I think about the lesson this case has taught the students themselves:

    If you don't like what someone else says, all you have to do is threaten violence against them, and you can enlist the power of the government to shut them up.

    This lesson will result in more violence (and more threats of violence), and in less free speech.

    Conversely, think of the teachable moment that was passed up: To teach students tolerance of what other people say or think or believe, to teach them that violence is not an appropriate response to speech that you disagree with. To teach them the true meaning of the core fundamental human right of free speech.

    Honestly, some students wearing an American flag on Cinco de Mayo? We're going to subvert the First Amendment over an American flag? We're going to tell the violent elements of society that violence will get them what they want? That if there's even a suspicion that they might react violently to someone else's speech, that they can use the power of government to shut down anyone they don't agree with?

    I fear for the future of this country.
     
  3. Nova

    Nova Well-Known Member

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    sonjay, I readily acknowledge your superior understanding of the law and its precedents. But I can't help noticing that the discussion shifted from minors to adults.

    I certainly agree with you that mere threats of violence should not be enough to justify censoring speech in society at large. (Personally, I'm not bothered by the Mohammad caricature festival. Even in practical terms I figure it flushed out at least two members of ISIS that might have done more damage at some point in the future.)

    But then we go back to a school, which is a special environment with kids deserving of special protections. Other than the requirement that "fighting words" be directed at an individual (which makes no sense to me, but lots of laws don't), wearing symbols of the colonial oppressor that stole the school land in the first place on a day devoted to celebrating the culture of the historical victims seems to fit the bill.

    I'm just speaking in terms of logic, however, which is not the same as law. As I said, I trust you understand the relevant statutes better than I.
     
  4. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    BBM. That wasn't why the kids were not allowed to wear the flag.

    The kids were not allowed to wear the flag because school officials claimed they thought it might disrupt school activities.

    And here's the thing: Speech is not to be suppressed because someone doesn't like what it says. Yes, schools do have some latitude to limit students' free speech if it's disruptive of school activities. Those limitations should be applied evenhandedly without regard to the content or the message of the speech in question.

    IF a national flag, or the colors of a national flag, are disruptive to school activities, then all flags and all flag symbols and all national colors should be banned at the school, across the board. There should be no Cinco de Mayo celebration. No St. Patty's Day celebration. No celebration of any national pride of any country whatsoever, and no flags should be allowed, period. I personally wouldn't like it if the school made that decision, but under case law (as decided by the Supreme Court of the United States), it would be a legitimate decision by the school administration. As long as it's applied evenhandedly, across the board, to every national flag and every expression of national pride.

    But it is not constitutional to prohibit the wearing of one specific national flag while not only allowing the wearing of another country's flag but holding a school celebration of that country.

    You can throw around words like "colonial oppressor" all day long. That doesn't make it right to target some students to prohibit their free speech while allowing it by other students, on the basis of the content of the students' speech.

    What you're advocating is that if any person or group of people doesn't like what someone says, that person or group can use the threat of violence to enlist the government to infringe on free speech.

    That is never right. Never.
     
  5. Nova

    Nova Well-Known Member

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    sonjay, take a deep breath! You're arguing in circles in a debate you've already won. I didn't "throw around" words like colonial oppressor, I merely noted that there is an historical context here that makes the banned speech more likely to cause disruption.

    And didn't YOU say that schools are allowed to ban iconography that threatens to disrupt the school?

    Arguing that if one flag is banned on one day, then all flags must be banned on all days is the sort of "legalism" we usually mock around here. It may be the law, but it's still silly. The clothing at issue was worn specifically on THAT day to instigate disruption. The students weren't punished; they were asked to remove the disruptive colors on THAT day only. They refused.

    I've already said I wish the vice-principal had handled the matter differently. But I do think there's an argument to be made for his solution.
     
  6. time

    time New Member

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    That's funny because I thought the teachable moment might have been that Cinco de Mayo celebrations have nothing to do with subverting America.
     
  7. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    I totally disagree. It's not a technical legalism. What you are advocating is that one group of people can suppress the First Amendment rights of another group by whining that they're offended by the American flag, FFS!

    Offensive and/or provocative speech is exactly the type of speech that needs protecting.

    Free speech as long as no one's "offended" by it is not free speech.
     
  8. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    Let's turn the tables: What if the American-flag-wearing students are offended by the Cinco de Mayo celebration? What if there's a fear that they'll threaten or physically harm the Mexican students if the Cinco de Mayo celebration takes place? Should the Cinco de Mayo celebration be cancelled?
     
  9. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    It would be perfectly appropriate to teach that. I don't think anyone here has suggested otherwise.
     
  10. LinasK

    LinasK Verified insider- Mark Dribin case

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    Nova, I lost the ablility to thank these posts. Just wanted to let you know that I did!:clap::clap::clap:
     
  11. time

    time New Member

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  12. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    Oh, wow, that's super! It's so great to see parents out there taking action to protect their children's first amendment rights.

    And the result?

    Morgan Hill School Drops American Flag Ban Despite Federal Court Victory

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/20...rican-flag-ban-despite-federal-court-victory/

    What a great outcome!

    And imagine! They didn't need to threaten physical violence to get their point across. That's how free speech works.
     
  13. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    This is what you get when you unfairly restrict free speech.

    FlagProtest.jpg

    Oh, the horror!

    But somehow, I imagine everyone survived being exposed to the awful sight of all those American flags.
     
  14. LinasK

    LinasK Verified insider- Mark Dribin case

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    Looks like a KKK rally to me personally. I supported the school's actions to prevent a gang war.
     
  15. Kimberlyd125

    Kimberlyd125 Softball is for everyone. Fast pitch is for athlet

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    A group of parents holding the flag of our country looks like a KKK rally? Really???

    I must be missing something.
     
  16. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    If the American flag means "KKK" to you, that's your prerogative. It can mean to you whatever you wish it to mean.

    And everyone else gets to decide what it means to them, as well.

    And even if it does mean KKK, guess what? KKK members have free speech rights, too. Nobody gets to shut them up because their message is offensive. That is how it is and that is how it should be.

    The best solution to speech you don't like is more speech. Not violence, and not censorship.
     
  17. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    Apparently, the very symbol of the United States of America is now racist and offensive. And the sensitive children at the Morgan Hill School need to be protected from the mere sight of the flag, lest they suffer irreversible emotional trauma.
     
  18. Kimberlyd125

    Kimberlyd125 Softball is for everyone. Fast pitch is for athlet

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    I just can't wrap my mind around it.
    Should I take my flag down? You know I am a white woman. I don't want my neighbors, who I love dearly BTW, to think I'm racist.

    SMH

    That flag stands for freedom for all races. It does not discriminate. All races have fought for and died for what that flag represents.
    We should ALL be proud of the flag. It's not just 13 stripes and 50 stars painted on some fabric to look pretty.
    It's a symbol of freedom and democracy.


    JMO
     
  19. SophieRose

    SophieRose New Member

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  20. sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    It's highly offensive to me that anyone would equate the American flag with racism and the KKK.
     

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