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Live Oak students wear white shirts to ease tensions

May 7, 2010 5:36:02 PM PDT
Students at a Morgan Hill high school decided to calm racial tensions in their own way, after two days of controversy. It started when some kids wore t-shirts with the American flag on them, on Cinco de Mayo, while other students were celebrating their Mexican heritage.

The district's superintendent is hopeful that this controversy is nearing an end, because the students have said it is time to move on.

Morgan Hill police remained on stand-by on Friday at Live Oak High School. After two days of racial tension, many students skipped school out of fear and rumors of violence.

"I wasn't sure of what crazy meant, so I'm just going to stay home today," student Kiandra Kirkman said.

The school principal issued a written apology for what happened on Cinco de Mayo.

It was the vice principal who asked five students to take off their American flag t-shirts or go home. The principal admits it was a mistake that sent the wrong message.

"I do believe they are sincere in their apology and intent to make things better. I think that it's just gotten bigger than it needs to be," grandparent Wendy Mann said.

The issue sparked national media attention, but the district superintendant says the debate has been taken over by bloggers and political extremists promoting their own agendas.

"I really think the show if you will, has been in front of the campuses and across the Internet and not on campus," district superintendent Wesley Smith said.

The clash of colors took on a new hue. On Friday, many students wore white and purple as a sign of solidarity and peace.

"We're wearing purple for peace because we want this whole thing boiled down, we don't want any more of the controversy," student Tiffany Geer said.

"Our school needs to just be peaceful now. It shouldn't be this big riot between everybody," student Lauren Rebardo said.

Some students wanted the news cameras gone and campus life back to normal.

"I'm trying to go to school trying to learn and but everyone keeps talking about this and expressing their own opinions. It's just getting old and distracting me personally," student Thomas Mangano said.

The superintendent said the students and administrators are using this as a learning experience and there will be better dialogue and policies come the next event.


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