Morgan Hill CA Civil Rights Lawsuit: Parents of Patriotic Live Oak Students Sue

06/29/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Morgan Hill, CA—The parents of three high school students who were sent home on Cinco de Mayo filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. The suit stemmed from an incident in which Live Oak High School’s assistant principle confronted the group of students, stating their American flag T-shirts were “incendiary” on the Mexican holiday, according to the Mercury News and previous reports by Justice News Flash.

Initial reports stated Daniel Galli and four of his friends were enjoying their lunch break at Live Oak when they were confronted by the vice principal. The students were allegedly asked to remove their American flag bandanas and turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. Upon refusing to do so, they were subsequently sent to the principle’s office.

Galli alleged, “They said we could wear it on any other day, but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it’s supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today.” According to Galli’s friend Dominic Maciel, “They said if we tried to go back to class with out shirts not taken off, they said it was a defiance and we would get suspended.”

Galli’s parents, Kendall and Joy Jones, as well as Maciel’s parents, Kurt and Julie Ann Fagerstrom, and Matthew Dariano’s parents, John and Dianna Dariano, filed the civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.

“It’s about our First Amendment rights… We started talking about a lawsuit from Day No. 1,” said Joy Jones.

The lawsuit names the Morgan Hill Unified School District, Live Oak Principal Nick Boden and Assistant Principle Miguel Rodriguez as defedendants. The plaintiffs are seeking “nominal damages” and attorneys fees.

Morgan Hill Unified spokesperson Julie Zintsmaster stated the district had not yet been served the lawsuit, nor would they comment on the plaintiffs’ claims. Such allegations included one, which contended the principle “slammed his fist on the table stating it was inappropriate for these students to wear” shirts bearing the U.S. flag on Cinco de Mayo. The principle also allegedly stated that on “any day but that day,” their choice of attire would be acceptable.

One day after the Cinco de Mayo episode occurred, Superintendant Wesley Smith maintained the school district does not “prohibit nor do we discourage wearing patriotic clothing”. Smith noted that students “should not, and will not, be disciplined for wearing patriotic clothing”.

The case is underway.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for California Civil Rights Lawyers.

Media Information:

Phone: (866) 598-1315