Cinco de Mayo may have left more than a tequila hangover and a fridge full of leftover nachos for one teacher in Idaho. A simple act of confiscating a flag from a student might put him on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the ACLU.
The student in question said he was changing into gym clothes at his high school on Cinco de Mayo and holding the Mexican flag when his teacher told him, "Give me the flag." The student claims he asked what the problem was, and his teacher said, "'The problem is that we are in the United States and not in Mexico.' He grabbed it from me. He threw the flag in the garbage can." The trouble worsened after school when the student went to retrieve his flag — he says the teacher taunted him and refused to give it back.
The teacher remembers the event differently, to see how, and how the ACLU is getting involved,
The teacher says the student was waving the flag around and that he "had to confiscate it so it wouldn't escalate any problems in class. We're worried about that stuff all the time. We always have kids saying stuff to each other, and we have a lot of fights between kids." He says he stored it in the trashcan because there was no other place to keep it.
The ACLU has contacted the student who's now considering a lawsuit against the teacher. The school superintendent said this of the incident, "We believe in nondiscriminatory practices and cultural sensitivity. We train for that and talk about that. If there is a teacher making derogatory comments we don't approve of that. We also don't approve of a student disrupting the classroom." About a third of the student body is Hispanic.
Was the teacher right? Is it easy to judge decisions well after the fact? Should the ACLU get involved, or could this be a case of being too sue happy?