When 200 hispanic students skipped school last week and marched through downtown Morgan Hill, California chanting "Si se puede" intermixed with "We want respect," none were banned from school attendance on their return.
When five students, one of them an American from latino roots, wore American flags to school as a sign of patriotic speech, they were labeled incendiary. They were instructed to turn their shirts inside-out so as to cover up the American flag. And when they refused to surrender their first amendment right to expression, they were given unexcused absences.
Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez called the flag draped wardrobe "incendiary" because the students had chosen to worn them on May 5, popularly known as Cinco de Mayo. (A date that "celebrates" Mexico's defeat of the French in a single battle, in a war that Mexico eventually lost.)
The school's administration went further in claiming the five students were attempting "to start a fight" and "adding fuel to the fire."
Latino parents chimed in and chided the five students (one of which is of Mexican ethnic heritage) saying, "we're all offended by it."
One parent, Teresa Casillas, claimed her hispanic children were upset by the behavior of the boys wearing the flagged shirts, calling it disrespectful.
Yet for all the outcry, not an ounce of proof has erupted that the boys made any actions of provocation--except wear the shirts on Cinco De Mayo.
One of the more ignorant utterances by one of the hispanic student protestors summed up the stupidity best, "It's disrespectful to do it on Cinco de Mayo," said Jessica Cortez, a Live Oak sophomore. "They can be a patriot on some other day. Not that specific day."
And so this is what the argument has been reduced to.
I mean, you do understand don't you that Cinco de Mayo is not even celebrated en masse by Mexicans?
Yet the militant, belligerent, children of latinos living in Morgan Hill are exhibiting symptoms of a problem that is widespread. Raw naked entitlement that not only flouts the laws, but has now led to the limiting of the most legitimate expression whose freedom should always be protected: patriotism.
It was bad enough that the Obama administration went on a systematic campaign to discredit the recent right of the state of Arizona to reinforce federal guidelines for immigration. It was bad enough that the lies were widely told, and never retracted by news agencies that should have known better.