Live Oak High School (Morgan Hill, California)

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Live Oak High School
Electronic signboard on East Main Avenue in front of Live Oak High School
Live Oak High School's electronic signboard
1505 East Main Ave.
Morgan Hill, California
United States
Coordinates 37°08′52″N 121°38′08″W / 37.1477°N 121.6355°W / 37.1477; -121.6355Coordinates: 37°08′52″N 121°38′08″W / 37.1477°N 121.6355°W / 37.1477; -121.6355
Type Public
School district Morgan Hill Unified School District
Principal Lloyd Webb
Grades 9–12
Color(s) Forest Green and Harvest Gold
Slogan Go Nuts!
Mascot Acorn
Newspaper The Oak Leaf

Live Oak High School (LOHS) is a public high school located in Morgan Hill, California. Live Oak is part of the Morgan Hill Unified School District.


Live Oak Union High School was established in 1904. Montgomery Hall was used to house the pupils for the first term. Construction of the first permanent facilities were completed in 1905. At the organization of Live Oak Union, Highland, Burnett, San Martin, Machado and Morgan Hill rural school districts were included, and, in August, 1921, Coyote, Llagas and Uvas districts were added. The name was later changed to Live Oak High School after the Morgan Hill Unified School District was established,[verification needed] which combined the aforementioned rural elementary school districts.

In 1940 a new campus was built on the north side of town, along Monterey Street, between West Central Avenue and Keystone Avenue. The main entrance was at 80 West Central Avenue.[1]

The school was moved from West Central Avenue to its present location at 1505 East Main Avenue in 1975.[1] The former campus on West Central Avenue was renamed and established as Lewis H. Britton Middle School. Due to the establishment of Britton Middle School, from 1979 Live Oak High School consisted only of grades 10 through 12, but as of the autumn of 2004, it once again functions as a four-year high school.

Cinco de Mayo incident[edit]

On May 5, 2010, five LOHS students arrived at school wearing T-shirts and bandanas bearing emblems of the American flag.[2] The school's administrators, led either by Principal Nicholas L. Boden or Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez (reports vary as to which), sent home four of them for refusing to remove the T-shirts on the Pueblan holiday of Cinco de Mayo. School officials deemed the garments "incendiary" and "disrespectful," fearing that displaying the American flag would incite fights with the Mexican-American student body. The four students were told they could choose to change their clothes or go home for the day.[3][4][5][6]

Some of Live Oak's Mexican-American students said that they felt disrespected by the boys' action and demanded an apology. One Mexican-American student stated, "I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day. We don't deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn't do that on Fourth of July."[3]

The boys and their parents were livid over the school's actions, defending the students' right to wear the American flag. They alerted the local media to the event.[3]

The Morgan Hill Unified School District bureaucratically distanced itself from the actions of Live Oak school officials, characterizing the incident as "extremely unfortunate" and stating the matter was under investigation.[7] The school district superintendent, Dr. Wesley Smith, said, "While campus safety is our primary concern and administrators made decisions yesterday in an attempt to ensure campus safety, students should not, and will not, be disciplined for wearing patriotic clothing."[4][8][9][10]

On May 6, approximately 200 Hispanic teens, most of whom were Live Oak High School students, walked out of their classes and marched through the downtown and to city hall in protest of what they regarded as disrespect from their American-flag-wearing peers. The crowd carried Mexican flags and sported the red, white and green of Mexico's national emblem. Two days later, a crowd of students led by several Hispanic students gathered in the amphitheater and held an anti-racism rally advocating acceptance and tolerance among the students.[5]

On May 7, the school district held a press conference regarding the incident, in which Boden apologized for the school administration's handling of the incident and explained why it handled it in the way that it did.[11]

On May 8, 100 members of the local Tea Party movement chapter protested in Morgan Hill in support of the four students.[12]

On May 10, the ACLU of Northern California sent a letter to the Morgan Hill Schools Superintendent protesting that the students' First Amendment rights had been violated and asking that the School District "take additional steps to inform students that their rights to free speech will be respected in the future".[13] On May 11, about 250 people attended the scheduled school board meeting.[14] More than 30 people addressed the board about the incident, while many parents in attendance either cheered in unity or booed in opposition to the opinions expressed therein.[15]

On November 8, 2011 United States District Court for the Northern District of California Chief Judge W. James Ware of San Francisco dismissed the students' lawsuit.[16] While public school students have the right to engage in non-disruptive free speech, Chief Judge Ware found this "does not require that school officials wait until disruption occurs before they act".[17] The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco affirmed, finding that when limiting school speech it does not matter if a substantial disruption is being caused by the speaker or by the listeners’ reaction.[18][19] Petition for rehearing en banc was denied with three judges dissenting, decrying their colleges for giving in to the heckler's veto.[20] The student’s final appeal to the United States Supreme Court was denied without comment.[21]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Forstner, Scott (2016-11-03). "Board unanimously approves $50 million plan for Britton". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  2. ^ Phillips, Joseph C. (May 9, 2010). "Joseph C. Phillips: Of Flags and Cinco de Mayo". Opinion/Reviews. HipHop Republican. Archived from the original on May 16, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  3. ^ a b c Kiriyama, Georgia (May 6, 2010). "Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees". NBC Bay Area. 
  4. ^ a b Miller, Joshua Rhett (May 6, 2010). "California Students Sent Home for Wearing U.S. Flags on Cinco de Mayo". Fox News. 
  5. ^ a b Bryant, Lindsay (May 6, 2010). "Hispanic students march through downtown for respect". Morgan Hill Times. 
  6. ^ "Live Oak High School Morgan Hill T-Shirt!". LALATE. May 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  7. ^ Morgan Hill Unified School District (May 5, 2010). "MHUSD Official Press Release Regarding May 5th Activities - 5/5/10 PM Edition". Breaking News. Morgan Hill Unified School District. Archived from the original on May 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  8. ^ Smith, Dr. Wesley (May 6, 2010). "Email to MHUSD Employees - 5/6/10". Breaking News. Morgan Hill Unified School District. Archived from the original on May 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  9. ^ Morgan Hill Unified School District (May 6, 2010). "Message Sent Home to Parents via Autodialer Message System - 5/6/10". Breaking News. Morgan Hill Unified School District. Archived from the original on May 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  10. ^ Morgan Hill Unified School District (May 6, 2010). "Message Sent Home to Parents via Autodialer Message System - 5/6/10 - Spanish Version". Breaking News (in Spanish). Morgan Hill Unified School District. Archived from the original on May 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  11. ^ Boden, Nicholas L. "MHUSD Press Conference Regarding May 5th Activities & Principal's Apology to the Live Oak Community" (PDF). Breaking News. Morgan Hill Unified School District. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  12. ^ Bryant, Lindsay (May 8, 2010). "Tea Partiers rally in support of LOHS students, America". Morgan Hill Times. 
  13. ^ Harumi Mass, Julia (11 May 2010). "Students' American Flag T-Shirts Are Protected Speech". Retrieved 29 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Board of Education Agenda — Regular Meeting of May 11, 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-05. 
  15. ^ Bryant, Lindsay (May 12, 2010). "Hundreds gather at school board meeting to address Live Oak T-shirt flap". Morgan Hill Times. 
  16. ^ Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified Sch. Dist., 822 F. Supp. 2d 1037 (N.D. Cal. 2011).
  17. ^
  18. ^ Volokh, Eugene (27 February 2014). "Not Safe to display American flag in American high school". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  19. ^ Comment, Recent Cases - Ninth Circuit Denies Motion to Rehear En Banc Decision Permitting School Suppression of Potentially Violence-Provoking Speech, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 2066 (2015).
  20. ^ Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist., 745 F.3d 354 (9th Cir. 2014).
    Volokh, Eugene (17 September 2014). "Not safe to display American flag in American high school — denial of rehearing en banc". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
    Owens, Eric (19 September 2014). "Happy Constitution Day! Ninth Circuit Affirms That It’s Illegal To Wear American Flag Shirts On Cinco De Mayo". Daily Caller. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  21. ^ Richey, Warren (30 March 2015). "Does wearing American flag incite violence? Supreme Court lets stand ruling.". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
    "Justices reject appeal by US flag-wearing students". Town Hall. Associated Press. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  22. ^ Stone, Larry (October 31, 2012). "Vikings' Jared Allen channels his inner beast". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  23. ^ Geissinger, Steve (August 20, 1989). "What demons drove Kings' Ricky Berry to commit suicide?". Associated Press via Deseret News. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "Taking Flight: Live Oak using summer to line up improved season". Morgan Hill Times. 20 July 2004. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  25. ^ Doherty, Paul (12 October 2007). "Catching up with... Ryan Neufeld". Morgan Hill Times. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  26. ^ Jauss, Bill (13 June 1995). "Sandberg's Successor Succeeds". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  27. ^ "Bob Stoddard Statistics and History". Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  28. ^ "Hometown favorite: Morgan Hill product Jimmy Vasser helps bring Champ Car racing "home" to San Jose". Morgan Hill Times. 30 July 2005. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 

External links[edit]