Did you see this story about the boys who wore American Flags on their t-shirts on Cinco De Mayo and were sent home? I think the Vice Principal caused the problem by bringing attention to the boys. The other students had not made any comments to the boys before Vice Principal Miguel Rodriguez called them aside. If Mr. Rodriguez had asked that all students with printing on their t-shirts, turn them inside out, I would be in agreement with his decision. However, he chose to single out those who wore the American Flag.

To be fair, Mr. Rodriguez may be privy to more information. There might just be some racial tension within the school. These boys, might have been “making a statement.” If that was the case, both sets of children should have been treated the same. This is a PR nightmare for the school. Obviously, the fact that it made national news indicates that tensions were high, and someone felt it necessary to make the case for the children that were singled out. This shows the tension the entire nation is feeling since the passage of Arizona’s new immigration law.

Additionally, patriotism is taught. Many of us have this question: How could wearing the American Flag in AMERICA be disrespectful to people who have chosen to live in America? The fact that we “celebrate” the 5th of May, shows respect to cultural diversity, but if I lived in Mexico, I would not expect the Mexicans to avoid wearing their flag on July 4th. Its not their holiday. Come to our country, we welcome you; but do NOT force your celebrations on us in a way that does not allow us to be patriotic in our own country. Combine your culture with ours, don’t try to force yours on us.

In this instance, I think most of this could be solved with school uniforms. If the tensions are rising so high, that high school students are offended by what is on a t-shirt, lets just take the t-shirts out of play. We need to create an environment of learning, in safety. However, the bigger issue is that we as adults need to watch our own rhetoric, using care to debate issues and not people. The media focuses on the sensational, setting a very bad example for our children to follow. How can our children treat each other with respect, if the adults around them cannot?

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