Students sent home for wearing U.S. flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Students sent home for wearing U.S. flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo

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MORGAN HILL, Calif. (AP) — The parents of several San Francisco Bay-area high school students who were sent home after showing up in clothing with American flags on Cinco de Mayo are blasting the school's decision.

An assistant principal at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill told the group of boys Wednesday to take off bandanas and shirts bearing American flags or turn the shirts inside out, according to some of the boys. At least one of the boys was also wearing shorts with the U.S. flag.

"They said we could wear it on any other day," Daniel Galli, one of the boys, told San Jose's KNTV. "But today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday, so we were not allowed to wear it today."

The boys say they were told the clothing was offending some Hispanic students and could spark fights.

"Our Hispanic vice principal was taking their side, and was thinking that we were being racist towards them, so he was discriminating against us, making us take off our stuff," said student Matthew Dariano.

They were given the choice to leave or face suspension, they said.

E-mails and phone messages left Thursday for school and district officials were not returned. But in a statement, the district called the incident "extremely unfortunate" and said it was investigating.

"While campus safety is our primary concern and administrators made decisions yesterday in an attempt to ensure campus safety, students should not and will not be disciplined for wearing patriotic clothing," the statement read.

The boys said they had no intention of sparking conflict. At least two of them said they are part Hispanic.

Julie Fagerstrom, mother of one of the boys, said they were just being patriotic and displaying their individuality.

The boys have since met with a district official and been allowed to return to school and continue wearing the clothing.

But some students at the school objected.

"I think they should apologize 'cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day," Annicia Nunez told KNTV. "We don't deserve to get disrespected like that. We wouldn't do that on Fourth of July."


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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