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Principal sorry for kicking patriotic students off campus; Roger Ebert frustrated

May 8, 2010 | 10:36 am


Good news for Morgan Hill, Calif. students who like America.  Now they can wear patriotic clothing to school and not risk being booted from campus.

This marks a stunning reversal since an episode in which five high school students were kicked out of school for wearing T-shirts adorned with images of the American flag on Cinco de Mayo.

Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez threw the students out for wearing what he called "incendiary" apparel on Cinco de Mayo.

Turns out, school officials just acted too "quickly."  Perhaps even without thinking.

Live Oak High School Principal Nick Boden accepted the blame while apologizing Friday, saying, "In this situation, I may have moved too quickly in drawing the line of when to take preventative action."

Officials had cited concerns that fights between students could erupt because of the "incendiary" images of the U.S. flag on the holiday.

"This was never about whether students were allowed to wear patriotic clothing on our campuses. They can. It was about ensuring that our high school campus was orderly and safe," Wesley Smith, superintendent for Morgan Hill Unified School District, said Friday at a press conference.

The apology doesn't satisfy some. They want Rodriguez fired.  In fact, they've set up a Facebook page to solicit support.

Writes the creator of the page: "This blatant disrespect toward our country and anti-American infringement on a student's right to learn should not be tolerated. Take action. Sign the petition, send emails to the school and tell your friends."

Meanwhile, film critic Roger Ebert continued to discuss the situation over Twitter.

On Thursday, he recommended that the offending students "share a lunchroom table with those who wear a hammer and sickle on 4 July."

He received plenty of grief and general mockery for that statement in the blogosphere, so he took to Twitter Friday explaining he "did NOT equate the American Flag with the hammer and sickle. Some people can't read, or deliberately falsify."

Seeming to be frustrated, Ebert later said: "I'll explain this one more time: Those five kids wore matching t-shirts IN ORDER to deliberately insult Mexican-Americans."

Appearing to move on from the controversy, Ebert retweeted: "Dr. Phil shaved his mustache. Truly it is the end of days."

-- Jimmy Orr

Photo: Turns out it's not a "bad moon rising" for Morgan Hill students who prefer patriotic clothes. Credit: Associated Press

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