Austin Medeiros said he has always felt an urge to be patriotic. The Camarillo High School student has chanted “USA, USA” after the singing of the national anthem at sporting events and student rallies and worn a U.S. flag bandanna, he said.
With the Rio Mesa High School boys basketball team set to visit Camarillo High on Wednesday night, Medeiros joined three friends in wearing the bandannas to the game. But he and Stefan Valenzuela said their display of patriotism led to their ejection from the game, along with two friends.
The students said they were suspended, which sparked a rally at the school Thursday morning. Camarillo High officials gave a different account, but both sides agreed they learned something about the line between patriotism and racism.
“We’ve done it always,” Medeiros said of wearing the bandannas. “It’s something we do. It’s the same group of friends. We always talk about it. We’re all very patriotic.”
The four students wearing the bandannas came to the Scorpion Dome for the JV and varsity rivalry games. Valenzuela said that between the games, an associate principal came over to the stands and warned students not to curse or make racial comments. The school official saw the bandannas and told the four students to remove them or leave, Valenzuela said.
The four went outside, then ran back inside the gym at halftime with their bandannas on and began chanting “USA, USA.” The four were ushered out and given five-day suspensions, which were later rescinded, Valenzuela said.
UPDATE: We now have reason to believe that the chant "USA" that the kids were yelling towards their rival school actually stands for "You Suck Ass," which is just as offensive.