Middle School Student Told To Remove American Flag To Avoid Racial Tensions

There is another bizarre story out of our public school system where a school official at Denair Middle School in Sacramento, California told 13-year-old Cody Alicea to remove an American flag from his bike because of fears that it would trigger “racial tensions.” According to this interview with the Superintendent, Cody has now been informed that he can display the American flag after a review of the supervisor’s decision — and a national outcry.

I remain perplexed by such decisions of officials. As with the mindless application of zero tolerance that we have seen on drugs and guns with absurd results, I cannot imagine why an official would view the solution to such a threat as being to silence the student’s first amendment rights. This is akin to saying, “your free speech is bothering a bully, so stop speaking.” If there is a student or students who will turn violent at the sight of an American flag, they need to be removed from the school. Ironically, Cody has been flying his flag on his bike for two months but was told to strike the colors just before Veteran’s Day. Nice timing.

There is no indication of whether the superintendent considered the decision by this official to be fundamentally at odds with free speech and good judgment. Superintendent Edward Parraz agrees that “the First Amendment is important” but adds “[o]ur Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they’ll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don’t really want. We want them to appreciate the cultures.” The evidence of such appreciation of other cultures appears to be forced silence. It is rather easy to achieve the appearance of cultural harmony when when students are told to be silent on their cultural or national values. The idea is to promote pluralism with the expression of different views — not claiming success by avoiding any expression (and rejection) of views.

The official insists that he or she was trying to protect Cody, but that is a rather sad statement when students are taught that they should hide their views to avoid being attacked in our public schools. If that is the reality of the situation at Denair Middle School, the entire school needs to be placed under special supervision with added measures to protect the students and their free speech rights.

Source: KCRA

Jonathan Turley

127 thoughts on “Middle School Student Told To Remove American Flag To Avoid Racial Tensions”

  1. Buddha,

    Maybe it’s just the leftover hormones from Teenage Boyhood, but I don’t think you can have a good Dracula movie without partial nudity. The Modern Vampire being a metaphor for sexuality and all that.

    Think I’ll need to explain that reference to anyone?

  2. Gyges,

    I recently re-watched Horror of Dracula and Christopher Lee is still the man. Although I think Oldman’s performance technically the best (not the writing though) and Bela is a sentimental favorite, it was the Hammer films that really shaped my “vampire world” as a kid.

  3. MJK,

    Where were you when Nicolas Cage needed your help? I mean surely your expertise in fighting hominids made of dried plant matter could have saved him from a painful death.


    Honestly I liked the ’76 version better, but I doubt anyone would recognize the name of the actor who played the hero. Christopher Lee, was fantastic and it was back when movie studios made R rated movies.

  4. ekeyra:

    “Mespo if you have so little faith in your fellow human beings why put faith in the human beings they elect? They all come from the same stock.”


    Believe it or not they don’t. There are always greater and lesser persons. We used to elevate the most meritorious to office. Now we are increasingly electing the most outrageous or those most closely assuming our ill-conceived, unlettered positions. It’s part of the general dumbing down of the population. Even so, most people I know in public office still stand head and shoulders above the “Joe Six-packs” of the world who struggle to manage even their own parochial interests.

  5. a level playing field is a level playing field. It is what it is and nothing more. It is neither egalitarian nor meritocratic. It gives all an equal footing, nothing more nothing less.

    In this case it is a euphemism for the law/society. Doesn’t Justice hold a scale and wear a blind fold? That is a level playing field.

  6. MJK:

    You need to read a lot more about Adam Smith if you believe he was not a classic egalitarian. As Buddha says educate yourself on the term and teh man. I gave you one source but there are multitudes.

  7. I make no such assumption I would be “the fittest” of any category, but you make platitudes to sympathy and then erect a system that robs men of the very trait you seem to hold in high esteem. If you compel someone to help the poor against their will, how can you say it was motivated by sympathy? How can you deduce their motivations at all when it was not their choice in the first place?

    Also monetary egalitarianism is self defeating. Value is subjecive. If I trade you two dozen eggs for your chicken, I value the chicken more than the eggs, and conversely if you agreed to the trade, you value the eggs more than your chicken. It is a mutual gain even if an outside observer would value things differently. Money is merely a medium of exchange, to make it easier to trade you 3 eggs for a dollar instead of 2/5 of your chicken. If you introduce monetary equilibrium and stabilize any fluctuation, youve nullified the medium of exchange, but youve done nothing to stabilize people’s inherently fluctuating values. You might still value my eggs more than your chicken but now you would have to purchase an entire chicken’s worth of eggs you may not want or need due to the fact that you may have numerically a million dollars, but in terms of trade their value is essentially zero(a) i also have a million dollars and (b) i know that any dollars i aquire over a million will be lost to stabilization. So yes you could give everyone the same numerical amount of money but all that would accomplish would be to reduce the value of everyone’s money to zero.

  8. Mespo if you have so little faith in your fellow human beings why put faith in the human beings they elect? They all come from the same stock. The electorate and the elected are all flawed human beings, why have more faith in them?

  9. MJK,

    Quite the opposite. The egalitarianism I speak of seeks to uplift the oppressed. It has already been demonstrated you operate from a fictitious definition of egalitarianism. It’s no surprise you got that wrong too.

  10. Good rant.

    Equal before the law and in respect to a creator is different than wanting to tear people down so everyone is identical. Your egalitarianism wants to tear men down.

  11. Buddha,

    What I love most about social darwinists is their faith that they’ll always be “the fittest.” Got to love that kind of optimism.

  12. anon nurse,

    I do not consider myself blind to what happens in some public schools. I should note, too, that I worked with some incompetent teachers during my years as an educator. I was just trying to point out that not ALL public schools are like the ones depicted in that movie. We have certain groups in this country who like to portray all public education as bad…all public school teachers in a negative light…all teacher organizations as groups that only care about the welfare of their members and not about the welfare of the children in their care. Some people only choose to see the bad and not the good. The good things that go on in public education are usually not as news-worthy as the bad things that are happening.

    In an earlier comment I wrote: “Our schools are a reflection of our society. I’m sad to say that many children come from dysfunctional/abusive families and live in violent communities.”

    The public schools have to deal with all the problems/issues that children who are members of such families and communities bring to class. Not all the problems should be blamed on teachers and public schools. Public schools and teachers are dealing with the symptoms of a troubled society. I think we need to get at the roots of the societal problems first. It’s like a doctor getting the correct diagnose before he/she can determine the appropriate treatment for a patient’s medical problem(s).

  13. Elaine M.,

    I went back and checked my earlier comment and want to clarify/elaborate a bit. Regarding “The War on Kids”, I said, “It’s profoundly disturbing…, as is the reality of what’s taking place in our schools.”

    I should have said, “some schools” — I don’t how many, but it’s a relatively small number, I would think, and hope. But we can’t/shouldn’t ignore the problems, of course.

    Having said this, I do know that many of us are a bit blind sometimes to what we don’t experience — what we don’t see. I’m not saying, or even implying, that you’re in this category, only that it’s true for many of us. We have blind spots that are often a result of our geographic location, education, life experiences, etc. Sometimes we see what we want to see or, what we’ve been raised to see. We need to be open to the truth of the experiences (and realities) of others, as unlikely as they might sound sometimes. (Again, these general comments are ramblings directed at a larger audience…)

    Life and truth are, in fact, stranger than fiction, I’ve learned. Documentaries like “The War on Kids” need to be taken seriously, and used to create awareness — an awareness that will hopefully spark positive changes.

    My other comments were about general trends — I was commenting on torture investigations (somehow the comments went off-topic at some point)– and where we appear to be headed, as a country, given my own experiences. Thanks for following up, so that I could clarify…

Comments are closed.