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SCHOOLS BAN FLAGS AS IMMIGRATION DEBATE GETS TENSE

Anglos, Latinos in confrontations in Colo., Ariz., Calif.

By Tom Kenworthy, USA TODAY

DENVER — Several schools in Colorado, Arizona and California recently banned the display of national flags and the wearing of clothing with patriotic symbols as the divisive national debate over immigration has brought angry confrontations between Latino and Anglo students.

The bans have prompted protests by parents, stirred local debates over free speech and its limits, and caught the attention of civil liberties advocates.

In Westminster, Colo., tensions between middle school students wearing camouflage clothing to show support for troops in Iraq and others wearing bandanas patterned after the Mexican flag triggered an order amending the school’s dress code.

“Some clothing worn by some of our students has created a tense and sometimes hostile environment in our school over the past few days,” Shaw Heights Middle School Principal Myla Shepherd wrote in a letter to parents. She banned “clothing that makes a political statement,” camouflage clothes and “banners, flags, bandanas of all types” at the suburban Denver school.

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