Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo was earlier this week. It’s more of an American drinking holiday, but we like it. However, in the town where I grew up it has brought quite a bit of conflict.

Here’s the short version of what happened: A few years ago on Cinco de Mayo at Live Oak High School in Morgan hill, some fights broke out between latino and white students . The following year, in an effort to avoid more altercations, the Principal asked a group of white males to either remove their American flag shirts or turn them inside out. The boys refused and were sent home. Their parent sued. And lost. And then they sued again. And lost again. I’m not sure how many lawsuits and appeals there were but it seemed interminable. This year, a group of “patriots” decided to have a rally in front of the school. They waved American flags, wore their most patriotic clothing and probably had signs with misspelled words.

I’ve become fascinated with this story and I was able to talk to a few of my co-workers who have children who attended Live Oak at the time. One person reported that the boys were known troublemakers and had every intention of using their shirts to start trouble. Some told me how livid they were that these boys are still getting so much attention. One parent was very upset that her daughter’s school day was interrupted by the protesters, media and police.

I read online comments from both sides of the argument. Nobody seemed interested in looking at the issue objectively. Endless generalizations were made. Many rose to the other’s bait and lashed out at the opposing viewpoints. My opinion is this: I sympathize with those on the boys’ side because the Principal certainly should have handled the situation better. But I’m not up in arms about it. I’m glad that the Principal tried to prevent violence. However (and excuse the run-on sentence), when I see protesters in front of a school, wasting the time and energy of children, teachers and officials over something that happened so long ago that all of the students involved have graduated, I not only can’t support their current outrage but they are at a serious disadvantage for future outrages as well.

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