DENAIR, Calif., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Officials in a California school district said a middle school student was told to take a U.S. flag off his bike to avoid "racial tension."
Denair Unified School District Superintendent Edward Parraz said Cody Alicea, 13, was told not to fly the U.S. flag from his bike while at Denair Middle School after complaints from other students, KCRA-TV, Sacramento, Calif., reported.
"(The) First Amendment is important," Parraz said. "We want the kids to respect it, understand it, and with that comes a responsibility."
Parraz said racial tensions boiled over at the school this year around the Cinco de Mayo holiday.
"Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they'll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don't really want," Parraz said. "We want them to appreciate the cultures."
Alicea's parents said he flies the flag from his bike as a tribute to veterans in his family.
"He's got that flag on his bike because he's proud of where he comes from," Alicea's father, Robert Kisner, said.
Alicea folds up the flag and keeps it in his backpack while attend class, the TV station said.