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Despite recent reports, Denair very patriotic

POSTED April 15, 2011 10:38 p.m.

The Denair First Amendment issue does not want to go away.  The good that came out of the incident, the reaffirmation by the district that students have a civil right to fly a flag at school was tainted by a recent district memo which seemed to deny responsibility for the situation.

 

However, if you listen to the now infamous interview of the superintendant on Fox News, it seems clear that the “Flag Flap,” as it has been disrespectfully called, was a disaster waiting to happen.  Speaking of an incident that took place at the Denair High School last year on Cinco de Mayo it sounded like the superintendent was justifying a no flag policy. "…Our Hispanic kids...will...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…”

 

Instead of dealing with the bullies or troublemakers, the school evidently decided that all students, disruptive or not, were prohibited from flying flags to prevent tension.  How could that decision have had anything to do with an eighth grader on a separate campus five months later?

 

The superintendent goes on to say the school was afraid that the student would be “jumped” by students who were complaining about the flag.  This does not ring true. If a real threat was made, why did the school allow the student to fly his flag to and from school only to have him remove it at school? Schools have authority and responsibility for students on their way to and from school and have the obligation to protect them there also.  It seems like he would be far more in danger of being "jumped" off the campus if this were the concern.

 

Perhaps the issue is more related to that ancient, pervasive, annoying, and universal complaint of middle school students everywhere:  "How come he gets to...... and I don’t?”  There was a good reason Jesus did not include middle school students in the 12 apostles. Maybe there was, in fact, no real threat but just a normal middle school fairness complaint.   Since the district refuses to discuss the issue, we may never know.

 

That said, I believe that the real story is being completely missed.  How in the world could this have happened in Denair?  How could this school be used by national pundits and others as an example of un-Americanism in order to push their anti-public school agenda?  The real story is that the media is not in the business of reporting the news but in making it.

 

The real story is that the Denair teaching and classified staff is as patriotic a group as you will find in this country.  The town and school are home to numerous patriotic civic, church and veterans groups. The community and school support a variety of uniquely American activities for its youth including the Boy and Girl scouts, 4-H, FFA and even a Naval Cadet Corps.  

On the very day that the superintendent gave his interview, the eighth graders held their yearly assembly honoring local vets.  A local VFW color guard posted the colors while all students stood for the flag that Cody was not allowed to fly on his bike.  Denair sends more than its fair share of young people of all ethnic origins into the military to defend our flag and country and sometimes the flags of other countries. 

Despite all this, the teaching staff and in extension the community has been vilified by the national press, pundits and other loud voices. Teachers who had absolutely nothing to do with, or prior knowledge of the flag issue have received threats and other abusive communications.  Let us face facts, these teachers and the schools, have played a large role in supporting patriotic values. It can be argued that Cody learned patriotism, not only from his parents, but also from these teachers.  The teachers, parents and the Denair community can be blamed in a good way for the courage and audacity of a student who demanded to fly his national flag.

 

— Larry Hoyt

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