KSBW-TV (Salinas, Calif.), Nov. 11, 2010
A Stanislaus County school is forcing a student to take an American flag off of his bike.
Thirteen-year-old Cody Alicea put the flag there as a show of support for the veterans in his family.
But officials at Denair Middle School told him he couldn’t fly it. He said he was told some students had complained.
His father, Robert Kisner, said his son should not have to put the flag away.
“He’s got that flag on his bike because he’s proud of where he comes from,” Kisner said.
But the superintendent said he’s trying to avoid tension on campus.
“(The) First Amendment is important,” Superintendent Edward Parraz said. “We want the kids to respect it, understand it, and with that comes a responsiblity.”
Parraz said the campus has recently experienced some racial tension. He said some students got out of hand on Cinco de Mayo.
“Our 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,” Parraz said. “We want them to appreciate the cultures.”
Parraz said if a disruption arises over a flag, they want it to be taken down to protect the safety of all students.
Outside of the school, a large U.S. flag flies from atop a flagpole.