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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Federal Judge: School Can Ban Foreign Flags at Graduation

An attorney representing the school district argued that Native American regalia is categorically different from wearing a foreign country's flag...

(Headline USA) A federal judge ruled Friday that a rural Colorado school district can bar a high school student from wearing a Mexican-American flag sash at her graduation this weekend after the student sued the school district.

Judge Nina Y. Wang wrote that wearing a sash during a graduation ceremony falls under school-sponsored speech, not the student’s private speech. Therefore, “the School District is permitted to restrict that speech as it sees fit in the interest of the kind of graduation it would like to hold,” Wang wrote.

The ruling was over the student’s request for a temporary restraining order, which would have allowed her to wear the sash on Saturday for graduation because the case wouldn’t have resolved in time. Wang found that the student and her attorneys failed to sufficiently show they were likely to succeed, but a final ruling is still to come.

It’s the latest dispute in the U.S. about what kind of cultural graduation attire is allowed at commencement ceremonies, as formal events clash with the new and strange doctrines of identity politics.

An attorney representing the school district argued that Native American regalia is categorically different from wearing a foreign country’s flag.

Ortiz further stated that the district doesn’t want to prevent Peña Villasano from expressing herself and that the graduate could adorn her cap with the flags or wear the sash before or after the ceremony.

But “she doesn’t have a right to express it in any way that she wants,” Ortiz said.

Wang sided with the district, finding that “the School District could freely permit one sash and prohibit another.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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