North Valley boy's 1st amendment rights challenged

FRESNO, Calif.

Early last week in the town of Denair just east of Turlock was told to put away his American flag before entering school.

Now several local veterans plan to honor the middle school student for his stand.

Monday morning dozens of veterans in Merced will jump on their motorcycles, trek north to the town of Denair and escort 13-year-old Cody Alicea to school.

These veterans call the boy's recent actions heroic.

Members of the American Legion Riders chapter 83 in Merced plan to make a statement when they show up to Cody Alicea's school Monday morning.

"Cody is a true American hero for what he has done in my opinion," Veteran Bill Baker said.

"This is the United States of America. We will show our colors," veteran Mike Abney said.

For months the 13-year-old has ridden his bike to Denair middle school with this American flag on the back of the bike.

Last Monday a school supervisor told him to remove flag. Superintendent Edward Parraz said the school feared for the boy's personal safety.

During Cinco de Mayo several students displayed Mexican flags which led to racial tension on campus... On Friday Parraz admitted they received complaints from some students earlier in the month about Alicea's flag.

"I've already extended my apologies," Parraz said.

After national attention and pressure from the community, Parraz admitted the school was wrong. "It's the American flag. You're not going to win in attacking the American flag. It's just not gonna happen," he said.

Four days after Alicea was told to remove his flag he was allowed back on campus with it. "Well, I didn't really want to make it an issue. I like flying my country's flag. I like being patriotic," he said.

Monday Alicea will get a first hand lesson from some patriots who salute his efforts.

It's bigger than the school now. This is a message out to the world. And that's our goal is to make sure everybody in the country and everybody in the world knows that here in America we don't have to be ashamed to fly our flag," Baker said.

Valley congressman-elect Jeff Denham released a statement saying he was "outraged" with the school for making Alicea remove the flag.

He has already offered to fly the boy to D.C. to attend his swearing-in.

Also, an emergency school board meeting was held earlier Sunday regarding the flag but calls to the superintendent's office went unanswered.

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