The Sacramento middle school student is named Cody Alicea, and he says he's been flying the American flag for two months on the back of the bike that he rides to school (links to full story at bottom). He says he flies the flag on his bike to express his patriotism and to express his appreciation for American veterans, such as his grandfather. Alicea reportedly treats his bike flag with the proper respect, folding it and putting it in his backpack during the school day.
The Denair Middle School didn't care about any of this until this (Veterans Day) week, banning Alicea from flying the flag on his bike as he arrives at and leaves from school. The school district superintendent, Edward Parraz, says the school took this action after some Hispanic students "complained." Parraz blamed potential "racial tensions" for the decision to ban Alicea's American flag, saying that such tensions "boiled over" at the school earlier this year around the Mexican Cinco de Mayo holiday.
I recall when that stuff happened, and my recollection is that it involved punks wearing American flag attire from head-to-toe in an obvious attempt to stir shit up with the Hispanic students. Well guess what: That's certainly not what we have going on here.
You know, I'm not much on the "sue everybody" mentality that pervades the nation nowadays, but if I was Alicea's parents, I'd go see a constitutional law attorney. Believe it or not, minors do have First Amendment rights, subject to the school's ability to place reasonable time, place and manner restrictions upon student speech in order to protect the integrity of the educational environment.
And when it comes to a reasonable restriction upon speech, this sure as hell ain't it in my opinion. If this school actually has students deranged enough to want to start trouble with Alicea for merely sporting an American flag on his way to and from school, then the school needs to gets its ass in gear and take steps to protect Alicea from those slimeballs. That's the damn answer, not imposing a prior restraint (i.e. censorship) upon the political speech of a student contrary to the very fundamental American right of free expression as set forth in our First Amendment.
And I note that this story emanates from Sacramento, California. Gosh, what a surprise there. Because central and southern California might as well be completely separate countries from the America we know here in the heartland. To the students who "complained" about an American flag while living in America, and to this idiot superintendent Parraz who lent merit to those asasnine "complaints," why don't you come out here to the midwest and try to ban our young people from sporting the American flag if they see fit. Here in Missouri and Kansas, we still wave Old Glory at down at the courthouse (to quote the old song), and if have a problem with that -- Kiss My Generation X American Ass.
Update: Reports on the Net tonight indicate that the superintendent, obviously in response to a public outcry across the country, has today reversed course and will permit the boy to wave the flag on his bicycle. But that still doesn't change the fact that the school district initially made a decision that in my view violated the free speech rights of this kid, and that decision stayed in place for days until today's sudden reversal. This school district should be absolutely ashamed of itself even regardless of today's about-face.