- via San Francisco Gate
A Morgan Hill high school principal reasonably feared violence on campus when he saw a group of students wearing American flags on their shirts on Cinco de Mayo, and he did not violate their freedom of speech by telling them to turn the shirts inside out or go home, a federal judge has ruled.
Citing past clashes between Mexican American and Anglo students over their clothing on the Mexican holiday, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware of San Francisco said school officials “reasonably forecast that (the shirts) could cause a substantial disruption” and were entitled to take steps to prevent it.
While the Supreme Court has ruled that public school students have the right to engage in nondisruptive free speech, that ruling “does not require that school officials wait until disruption occurs before they act,” Ware said in his ruling Tuesday dismissing the students’ lawsuit.
Mark Posard, a lawyer for the Morgan Hill Unified School District, said Friday that Ware’s decision “affirmed that school safety is paramount.”
Bill Becker, a lawyer for the youths and their parents, said they would appeal “this bizarre ruling.”