An internal memorandum from Denair Unified School District Superintendent Edward Parraz to district staff recants the entire course of events that took place last Veteran’s Day when Denair Middle School student Cody Alicea removed a United States flag from his bike, claiming it was done at his mother’s insistence.
It is widely believed that Cody was told to take the flag off his bike on school grounds by a campus supervisor in order to avoid a potentially violent situation in which other students were offended by Cody’s flag.
The memo, sent to staff on March 9 states: “Please disregard my memo sent on November 12, 2010, regarding the flag issue. I have prepared this memo regarding the flag issue with additional information. I am hopeful the memo sheds a more precise account to this incident. My previous memo stated: ‘The campus supervisor’s decision to ask Cody to put away his flag while on school grounds based on Cody’s safety and potential campus disruption.’ To clarify the event and to more accurately state what had occurred, please note the following: ‘The boy took the flag off his bike only after his mother (parent) had agreed that due to threats he was receiving, the flag should be put away while there was an investigation into who was threatening the student. At no time did a campus supervisor tell the boy to remove the flag.’”
The memo was received at the Turlock Journal on the afternoon of March 15 from an anonymous source.
Cody’s mother, Daneen Kisner, commented on the memo. “That’s completely not true. I didn’t even go to the school until 4 p.m. that day. He (Cody) was asked at 7 a.m. when he came on campus. When I went to the school she (campus supervisor) explained why he was told to take off the flag.”
Cody says his parents didn’t even know about the event until he came home from school to tell them and then his mother went to the school for explanation.
“It’s just not right, he is trying to make it look like my mom did it and he’s trying to drag her into the hole he dug for himself,” Cody said. “He said he was sorry and he didn’t mean for all this to happen and now he says he didn’t do it and no one at the school did it.”
Parraz sent a letter to parents and the Denair community on Nov. 12 of last year. In the letter he wrote “This incident occurred on Monday, Nov. 8th when a campus supervisor asked one of our middle school students to remove an American flag from his bicycle while he was on school grounds. This request was based on concerns for the student’s immediate safety, and to give school staff time to investigate a potentially dangerous situation, involving threats to this student.”
Cody’s step-father, Robert Kisner was upset at the memo. “I don’t understand why he would say that. We never threatened to sue the district or anything like that. He’s going to open a can of worms that he’s not going to want,” he said.
Parraz says he is no longer commenting on the flag issue and that he was not at the school last Veteran’s Day.
“I wasn’t there that day. The information that I got that day was the information I used to make the first memo and letter,” said Parraz. “In the future we will call and explain the situation to a parent before administrators would make a decision.”
To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015