In brief: Federal appeals court reviewing California free speech case
San Francisco – Stuck between preserving order at public schools and students’ free speech rights, a federal appeals court Thursday struggled over whether a high school overstepped three years ago when it ordered some students to turn their American-flag adorned shirts inside out during a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Officials at Live Oak High School in the Morgan Hill Unified School District ordered the students to either cover up the U.S. flag shirts or go home, citing a history of threats that raised fears of violence on the day the school was highlighting the Mexican holiday.
The legal flap stems from the parents’ First Amendment lawsuit, which argues that no circumstances warrant a school forbidding a student from wearing a shirt with the American flag.
The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is reviewing the parents’ appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that Live Oak’s handling of the incident was a necessary safety precaution that trumped the students’ free speech rights.
New runway opens at O’Hare Airport
Chicago – One after another, planes roared down a new runway Thursday at O’Hare International Airport, where years of crippling delays stalled the nation’s entire aviation system.
Chicago aviation officials promised the new 10,800-foot airstrip would reduce delays at O’Hare by up to 50 percent while allowing for nearly 90,000 additional flights per year. It is part of an $8 billion overhaul that began in 2003 and is reconfiguring O’Hare’s outdated layout of crisscrossing runways into a modern and more efficient parallel system.
The major expansion pieces yet to be completed are two more parallel runways, a control tower and an extension to an existing runway.
Teens in lingerie store found with fetus in bag
New York – A security guard on the lookout for shoplifters searched two teenage girls as they left a Manhattan lingerie shop Thursday and discovered one of them was carrying a fetus in her bag, police said.
The 17-year-old girls were shopping at a Victoria’s Secret store in midtown Manhattan, said police, who were called to the scene after a guard noticed a strong odor coming from one of the bags and found the fetus.
One of the girls told detectives she was carrying the human remains because she had delivered a day earlier and didn’t know what to do, authorities said. It wasn’t clear whether the fetus was alive or dead when delivered.
The girls were arrested on charges of petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. The medical examiner’s office was performing an autopsy on the remains. More serious charges could follow, depending on the cause of death.