Flags Confiscated by Principle
On September 11, 2014, a group of Spartanburg, South Carolina High School students decided to honor those lost on September 11, 2001 by driving to school with American flags waving from their pickup trucks. Tragically, as WSPA-TV reports, “Principal Aaron Fulmer removed the flags from vehicles parked at Woodruff High School in Spartanburg, claiming rules forbid anything that creates a disturbance or draws an “unusual amount of attention.” The principle snatched the flags off of the students’ trucks, and would not return them until the end of the day.
Students Were Not Punished
As goupstate.com shares, “Fulmer said he appreciates the students’ patriotism and understands why they flew the flags on Sept. 11, when the nation remembered the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. But, while he acknowledges complaints he’s received, he said he cannot discriminate in enforcing policy.” He went on to say that he was “simply enforcing long-standing district policy when he removed American flags from students’ trucks on Thursday.” The students were not punished in any way, and their principle even told them, “I’m not mad at you. We’re not upset at you. I applaud your patriotism. But rules are rules…”
Superintendent Claims “It’s Not About Patriotism”
The report goes on to say, “District 4 Superintendent Rallie Liston said the issue is not about the American flag. He said the students violated a rule against anything that creates a disturbance on campus or draws an “unusual amount of attention to oneself.” He said students can display the American flag on their vehicles, such as in the form of a sticker. Liston said asking the students to remove the flags was not about 9/11 and patriotism — he said all District 4 schools flew American flags at half-staff in remembrance of the day. Liston stressed that the students were not disciplined. ‘We all love America and support our country and our flag. We value our veterans, but we also understand that they fought for the First Amendment, and when we get into the First Amendment, we can’t discriminate,’ Liston said.”
Protest Ensues, Policy Re-evaluated
The report from WSPA tells of parents and other students who rode by the school on Monday with flags waving from their cars and trucks. Other marched on the sidewalks in front of the school while waving flags to protest the policy which was cited as the reason for the confiscation. According to BizPacReview, “Fulmer has announced homecoming week will kick off with ‘American Monday,’ asking students to dress in red, white and blue and bring American flags. Monday previously had been designated as “America Day,” however.” Fulmer also informed WSPA that school officials will be meeting with the student council to decide on whether or not to revise the zero-tolerance policy on flags. This meeting is set for this week.
Did this principle have the right to snatch the students’ flags from their trucks?