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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

School bans American Flag

--posted by Tony Garcia on 4/05/2006

I thought the Free Speech Freaks were all about "kids don't leave their rights at the school door".

I thought the conservatives were fine with certain "speech" on clothes being banned. Remember the hub-bub about the Vagina Monologues and the associated shirts?

In Colorado some spineless administrators have decided that instead of confronting the walk-out kids directly they would ban clothing that MIGHT incite more difficult situations.
The boiling immigration debate, which has led to mass demonstrations and walk-outs by high school students across the country..., has taken a bizarre turn in Colorado, where the administration at Shaw Heights Middle School recently announced a new rule banning the wearing of any patriotic clothing, including camouflage print, because they say clothes have become a political symbol for a version of patriotism that is divisive, according to Denver's KCNC CBS4.

In a letter sent to parents last week, administrators at the Westminster, Colorado, school explained that the move to ban any clothes with political messages or flags of any sort was for the safety of students. The school's principal, Myla Shepherd, said that tensions over the immigration issue were recently apparent when more than 20 students came to school wearing camouflage jackets and pants, apparently to show what they call their patriotism and American pride, according to the CBS4 report.
Now I will point out the hypocrisy of 3 groups.

First the people who fought for kids to be allowed to wear anti-war clothing...they used the (erroneous) Supreme Court decision Tinker v Des Moines saying that (a) clothing is symbolic political speech and (b) quoting Tinker that kids don't leave their rights at the school door.

Second are the people who support the banning of anti-war or Vagina Monologues shirts. If they stand up agaisnt this Colorado school they are hypocrites as well. The basic argument from them before was that kids do not have the right ESPECIALLY if it creates a distraction in the schools (which was an exception from Tinker).

Finally are the schools who sometimes allow distraction clothing and sometimes don't. Political freedom should be allowed its expression in the schools and political freedom should not be allowed. Granted, these are different districts, but it is fair to point out the schisms within the education ranks.

Oddly enough, I accept their decision to ban certain clothing...just as I did with the Winona girls. I stand behind what I said then:
I hope that this case makes it to the Supreme Court so that the erroneous concept of not leaving one's rights at the school door can be revisited.

Children do NOT have rights. They have potential rights which we must protect, but they do not have the rights of a "full citizen". They are not allowed to enter into contracts, run for office, smoke, drive, drink, get married...quit school at their whim.
I apply that to the anti-war shirts, the Vagina Monologues shirts and to the jingoistic shirts (I use jingoistic as a compliment, by the way).
Shepherd said when administrators began hearing name-calling over the immigration debate, they decided on the clothing ban, which immediately helped defuse the tension. "Safety is my first concern, so I'm going to do things to keep us from getting to a point where anybody is hurt or being suspended for fighting," she said.

"It upsets me that we cannot support our troops — the military," said Kirsten Golgart, an eighth grader who was told she'd be suspended if she didn't change her clothes. "We can't support our country. If we're American, I think we should be proud to be an American."

Golgart's father disagreed with the move and gathered signatures protesting the dress code. "I don't think that's a solution, though, because you're punishing 400 students because the action of 100," said Eric Golgart. But Shepherd argued that freedom of speech can be limited in schools for safety's sake. And she's not the only one taking such action in the state. The principal at Skyline High School in Longmont, Colorado, recently banned all flags, including the American flag, because of similar tensions related to the immigration debate.
This actually could have been avoided if long ago the adminstrators of the schools across the country had seized control of the schools back from the unions and the students. The unions push harmful things like tenure in K-12 schools which weakens the administration and the students go unpunished for so much. The adminstrators and principles must take control of their schools back.

Just another reason to support school vouchers and school uniforms.


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