A school in Ohio has banned the thin blue line American flag, often used to show support to police officers, due to it potentially offending people.
Chardon Local Schools superintendent Michael Hanlon announced the ban earlier this week, saying people could potentially perceive the use as the flag as endorsing anti-black protests, local news channel WKYC reports.
In a letter to students and parents, Hanlon wrote: “Given the turbulent times facing our country right now, this action understandably drew responses on social media and direct communications to district officials.”
According to the report, the letter comes after the Chardon Hilltoppers high school football team displayed the flag while running onto the field ahead of their game last Friday.
“Based on discussions that ensued over the weekend, it does not appear that this action was motivated by racism, rather a show of support for one of our coaches who serves as a police officer, as well as for the first responders in our community who have developed a special relationship with our school and students in the wake of our school tragedy of February 27, 2012,” he said.
“Nevertheless, it is understandable how this could be interpreted as a racially-motivated action and, therefore, not acceptable in a school community,” Hanlon concluded.
The decision was met with swift opposition from Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri, who said he was angry and frustrated.
“Words can not explain the anger, frustration, and disappointment I felt while reading your letter to community members,” he said in a letter to Hanlon, via WKYC. “Your letter sickens me and so many others that have reached out to me to express the same disgust with your inability to stand up and recognize their patriotism.”
“Mr. Hanlon, you have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you do not carry the compassion, understanding, and leadership quality that is required in your position,” he continued.
“By honoring our first responders these young men expressed gratitude, care, and love for our community and our county,” Spidalieri added.
Ohio Fraternal Order of Police calls on Chardon schools to reconsider ban on 'thin blue line' flag https://t.co/QOzxLM5ChD
— News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) September 3, 2020