Recently, many events have transpired regarding our nation’s flag. On Cinco de Mayo, students were asked to go home for wearing shirts and other apparel with the American flag on it. According to sources, doing so was nothing out of the ordinary, and wasn’t directed at insulting the school’s Hispanic population. However, the shirts were deemed offensive by school staff. A friend suggested that it is in fact insensitive, and that it is Hispanic’s day to protest in America. This is a horrible argument for a couple reasons. One: It is America, and in America we are guaranteed the right to free speech. This school had no dress code regarding uniforms, so what they were wearing was not breaking any rules. Secondly, in America, we also have the protected right to protest on any given day; regardless of your origin. The students wearing shirts with Mexican flags on them were not sent home, and there has been no mention as to what flag was flying outside that public school that day. Chances are it was an American flag. My priority in this argument is not that of American Exceptionalism, (although I believe we are a great country), but rather of equality. If the kids wearing American flags were asked to change clothing, I would have appreciated it if the kids wearing Mexican flags had also been asked to go home and change.
The second event that occurred this past week regarding the American flag happened in Salinas, California. In a seventh grade art class, the students were asked to draw anything they wanted. One girl chose to draw the American flag with the words “God Bless America” on the stripes to represent her freedom of speech. As the teacher was walking around the classroom checking on the students’ art, she noticed the girl’s drawing and referred to it as “offensive.” The teacher gave no reason as to why it was offensive; simply declared it as such. Meanwhile, another student in the room drew a picture of Barack Obama. The teacher’s reaction was very different. When she saw the sketch of our president, she complimented the piece, and didn’t say anything about it being offensive. No matter what your political views may be, calling a sketch of our unifying symbol offensive, and not suggesting a sketch of our commander and chief is the least bit so is completely backwards. The student’s parents met with the school principal, who was very apologetic. However, the teacher has yet to specify why the drawing was offensive, or even apologize for shaming the girl. At first, the teacher denied saying such things, but witnesses stepped forward and made the teacher squirm. She now is partially denying the event, saying she “may have said that, but can’t remember.” Typical excuse.
I’m tired of the America-bashers and the America-bashing schools. Let’s respect our nation’s finest symbol and respect our first amendment. These students did no harm to anybody. They exercised a constitutional right, and were reprimanded for doing so.