San Diego school prohibits student from wearing flag

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When Malia Fontana’s friend was told that he could not wear an American flag headband at school, she protested by wearing an American flag in her back pocket. Malia was then told to remove her flag, and when she asked the security guard why she had to remove it, she was taken to the principal’s office. Though not required to do detention, Malia had an incident report written that will remain in her records until six months after her graduation from Fallbrook Union High School in San Diego.

In 1969, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines School District, established the right of students to wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam war. Justice Abe Fortas, writing for the majority, said:

In our system, state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are “persons” under our Constitution. They are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State.

The Tinker decision applies to the situation at Fallbrook Union, and the ACLU has sent a letter to the San Diego County school district comply with the law, apologize to Malia and her mother, and clear Malia’s school record.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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