Do American citizens have the right to express pride in their country by wearing the American flag public? Not in California they don’t. KNTV reports:

On any other day at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Daniel Galli and his four friends would not even be noticed for wearing T-shirts with the American flag. But Cinco de Mayo is not any typical day especially on a campus with a large Mexican American student population.

Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal’s office.

“I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day,” Annicia Nunez, a Live Oak High student, said. “We don’t deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn’t do that on Fourth of July.”

What country is Morgan Hill in again? When Americans celebrate St. Patricks Day or Columbus Day, don’t we always see American flags flying right along side Irish and Italian ones? Why are the Mexican Americans at Live Oak High so insulted by the flag of the country that they live in? Do they not consider themselves Americans first?

The mother of one of the offending flag wearers gets it: “There will not be an apology. Matthew is part Hispanic. He is an American.” How many Californians consider themselves American these days? Heritage’s Israel Ortega wrote last week:

If there’s one thing Americans agree on, it’s that the United States is a nation of immigrants. Virtually everyone came from somewhere at some time. Even more important, though, is the fact that, after they arrived, they became Americans.

Sure, some people hyphenate. One can be African-American, Chinese-American or Italian-American, but there’s an “American” in there somewhere. This country was built by immigrants who understood they were indeed building something valuable. They assimilated to their new land.

The United States can’t afford to promote the creation of a group of second-class citizens who receive government-funded Spanish-speaking programs and services that serve only to further suppress economic progress among recent arrivals.

As the contentious debate nears, we should underscore the importance of ensuring that all freedom-loving people who come to the U.S. legally should be able to become Americans, regardless of race and creed.

Hispanic-Americans find themselves at an important crossroads of our country’s history, similar to the German and the Irish of the mid-19th century, who were confronted with the choice of gradually assimilating to the United States or hanging on to the allegiances of the old country.

Rather than politicize the debate, Hispanic leaders should seize the opportunity to reaffirm the virtues of equality, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. They’re living in the greatest country on the face of the earth. It’s time to help make it even better.