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Flagging controversy


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#1    __Kratos__

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:00 AM

Several Logansport parents pledged their allegiance to their high school sons and daughters Monday night and criticized a Logansport High School administrative decision to ban flags from any nation last Friday on the school campus.

While some said the ban on the American flag at the school and asking students to turn patriotic apparel inside out was a “slap in the face” to veterans and American troops, Logansport High School Principal Dr. Terry Sargent defended administrative decisions he said were made in the best interest of the students for their own protection.

The controversy capped a week that began May 1 when 174 of 225 Hispanic students at the school were excused to participate in a national demonstration for immigration rights. Last Friday was Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday depicting victory over the French in the 1862 Battle of Pueblo. School officials had decided in advance to ask students not to bring flags from any nation to school Friday, but some students did. Thirteen students out of nearly 1,300 left and returned home after a demonstration in front of the school entrance was broken up by school officials, Sargent said.

The one-day flag ban led Logansport VFW Post Commander Mike Sims to speak before the school board at its Monday night meeting. Sims appeared with his American Legion hat, wearing a shirt emblazoned with images of the stars and stripes. He said he was asked by many veterans and taxpayers to speak to the board.

“The decision to ban all flags in school, even only for one day, was a slap in the face to those who have served, and are now serving in the armed forces. The American flag may be displayed anyplace in the United States, especially any facility funded through taxpayer revenue,” Sims said before being applauded by school patrons.

Sims said the immigration debate spilled over into Logansport, but led school officials to make a hasty decision when they banned the national symbol in the school.

Sims said he respects the Mexican holiday, but Hispanics must respect the American flag.

“If they are in the United States legally, our flag is now their flag.”

Sims said the American Legion does not condone the draping of the flag on cars or dragging it on the ground.

Sargent, who was not at school Friday because he was asked to recruit new teachers graduating from Indiana State, said in a statement to the board that students were never asked not to wear patriotic clothing, but they were asked at one point to turn patriotic clothing inside out before later being told they could wear their clothing right-side out.

Sargent said school officials heard comments a week ago today from students who thought excused absences for Hispanic students attending the demonstration was unfair, and they were upset.

“By Wednesday an anti-immigration petition was thought to be making the rounds. Additionally, a Hispanic boy came forward and said he had seen the petition and was upset by it,” Sargent said.

With rumors circulating that students were blocking doorways to prevent Hispanic students from entering the school, Sargent said there were concerns, along with discoveries of anti-Hispanic graffiti. Since many Hispanic students brought Mexican flags to school last year, Sargent said the staff wanted to prevent a situation from becoming inflamed. At one point, a Confederate flag was confiscated and returned to a student.

“The tension in the building was palpable,” Sargent said, adding that there was a rumor of a large gang fight after school on Friday.

Decisions were in no way made to disgrace the flag, said Sargent, who said both his father and his grandfather were veterans.

“We would apologize if we gave anyone the impression we were doing anything intentionally unpatriotic or disrespectful to our country’s flag or to this community or anybody who has ever served in military service. It was not our intention to do that.”

Brian McLaughlin, youth pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church, said the Friday controversy started Monday, but goes beyond Logansport.

“I think the problem is what we’re seeing in this country is we’re going from law to lawlessness,” he said, adding that the country has come to a sad point when its students are asked not to display their own flag.

“We have to be careful not to have reactionary decisions,” he said.

Ronnie Van Duyne questioned why high school students were not allowed to bring American flags to school when a Mexican flag was displayed in the Columbia Middle School reading room.

Julie Moore said her own son, who was one of the students involved in the controversy at the high school, was treated for pink eye Monday, but she received reports that his name was called after every class period Monday at the school. She told the board she does not want her son to be harassed because he agreed to be interviewed by the media.

April Lawrence said she told her son to wear a rebel shirt with the Confederate flag.

“I don’t necessarily like what the rebel shirt stands for, but I made him wear it to prove a point. This is America. He should have the right to wear any kind of flag he wants to wear.”

But Julia Iles told the board she questions the motives of the students and parents.

“I have a problem with people who have an agenda and they hide behind their patriotism or religion and they use that for an excuse for undermining.”

Brian McAllister, a veteran, told the board he, too, has concerns.

“I was very disturbed to learn that there was some discussion about the American flag being banned. I would say as a veteran that served 24 years in the military, the proudest I ever was when I flew my flag on my airplane in foreign countries. I was proud to display that flag. I just hope it never comes to the day when this flag is banned anywhere in this country, especially at a school that is supported by taxpayer money.

“I’m not against other cultures or other people, but what I have a problem with is people who come here, especially illegally, and want us to change.”

One couple, Michael and Deb Small, who have a sophomore son at LHS, said having to pick up their son from school for being involved in the controversy by wearing patriotic clothing should not have happened. Mike Small said his wife had to leave her job to pick up her son so he would not be suspended. Calmly, Small said he has some problems with the issues involved.

“It is because of our military folks that Hispanics can march in this country.”

Deb Small said she served in the military, and taking allegiance to the flag is a moving thing. She said many Hispanics are protesting, but few are serving the United States in the war against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Students Will Zellers and Justin McDaniel, who displayed American flags, told the board they meant no disrespect to the flag by putting it on a car.

Another Logansport resident, Dave Oresik, said he hopes the school corporation can learn from the incident and move forward.

Board member Mark Hetz said he personally is uneasy with some of the comments made about Hispanics. Hetz said he has a part-time employee who “has gone through a lot” to come to the country.

Board member Matt Gotshall said it is hard for the board members or the parents to question what led administrators to decisions.

“If you’re standing in gasoline and people are walking around you with matches ...” Gotshall said.

Pat McNarny, another board member, said in speaking with Milt Cole Monday, he agreed with his assessment. The community grows through bad experiences, McNarny said, not necessarily through good ones.

Board President Bill Tincher said the situation can be blamed in part of the failure of “boneheads” in Congress to not address the immigration issue.

Board member Dan Slusser asked Assistant Principal Greg Grostefon and Matt Jones, who was involved with revisions to the Columbia and Lincoln middle school handbooks, to include revisions in policy that give administrators some guidelines to go by in the future if similar situations arise.
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If you don't like the American flag in an American school... Sucks to be you, in my opinion. yes.gif

Plus, if there is a flag ban, how do willing students give their Pledge of Allegiance to the flag every morning?  hmm.gif

They think it's alright because they banned all flags... But really, what the hell? Crack down on behavior not patriots. thumbsup.gif

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#2    Michelle

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:33 AM

My school didn't have us say the Pledge of Allegiance after maybe third grade even at sporting events. Funny how in the bible belt something like that could happen. hmm.gif

It's a touchy subject about flags, including rebel,  on school property though. Yikes...I'm glad I don't have to battle on that one. *cringe*


#3    Otacon

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:46 AM

I'll take to the streets with my rifle when they tell me I can't fly my flag.....

Honestly...why does it seem that this country is only moving backwards...?

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#4    Michelle

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:01 AM

I'd say the same thing, Otacon, about flying the flag on my own property, but we're talking about school. hmm.gif  That is same controversy I have about uniforms...is it their right to show individuality or not to cause a disruption and theft of expensive shoes and whatnot.

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#5    PLO

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 04:13 AM

"how do willing students give their Pledge of Allegiance to the flag every morning?"

umm does that actually happen?

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#6    Fluffybunny

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 04:16 AM

The pledge used to happen every morning in grade school way back, but stopped a good 20 years ago. I went to a ball game where the national anthem was played, that still happens often, but otherwise it doesn't happen too much in schools anymore as far as I know.

Too many people on both sides of the spectrum have fallen into this mentality that a full one half of the country are the enemy for having different beliefs...in a country based on freedom of expression. It is this infighting that allows the focus to be taken away from "we the people" being able to watch, and have control over government corruption and ineptitude that is running rampant in our leadership.

People should be working towards fixing problems, not creating them.

#7    PLO

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 04:18 AM

was gettin worried there for a minute, though it still might explain a lot.

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#8    aquatus1

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:54 PM

Seems to me that people are starting to abuse the whole concept of individuality.  Clothing is one thing, but there is nothing individual about the flag of the country that you are in.


#9    __Kratos__

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:16 PM

Quote


The pledge used to happen every morning in grade school way back, but stopped a good 20 years ago. I went to a ball game where the national anthem was played, that still happens often, but otherwise it doesn't happen too much in schools anymore as far as I know.


blink.gif The Pledge of Allegiance? In my school I had it from kindergarten through senior and I'm pretty sure they still say it every morning.

Quote


was gettin worried there for a minute, though it still might explain a lot.


Yeah, with a name like "PLO" that makes all the sense...

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#10    PLO

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:22 PM

well it does kinda explain why so many americans are such die hard "patriots", they basicaly brainwash you when you arrive at school, every day, for years and years.  Anyone with a basic understanding of psychology can see the implications this can have on some ones mind set.

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#11    __Kratos__

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:27 PM

Quote


well it does kinda explain why so many americans are such die hard "patriots", they basicaly brainwash you when you arrive at school, every day, for years and years.  Anyone with a basic understanding of psychology can see the implications this can have on some ones mind set.


And the people of Palestine are brainwashed from birth to hate Israel.

I didn't think it was wrong to take pride in one's country.  rolleyes.gif

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#12    Mr Black

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:32 PM

I must confess being English where unfortunatly patriotism is not as high on peoples agenda as it should be, for example during a typical week you'll be lucky to see 1 St.Georges cross flag, only then they'll be a sporting event to validate showing it.........

Never once in my entire school life did i see a St. Georges flag on parade!

I do admire the American patriotism, i have strong links to Austin,Texas and when im there you'll be lucky to see a school/House without the American flag!

However do you need to have a flag flying everywhere to remind you your American and to commemorate those that have fought for the flag?

I mean no disrespect to America or the American people as i particulary love Texas, over any place i've ever visited in the world. If i have offende please accept my apologises............obviously i am not american so i do not feel as strongly as an American would about this issue, thought a view point from accross the pond would be valued.

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#13    __Kratos__

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:47 PM

Quote


I must confess being English where unfortunatly patriotism is not as high on peoples agenda as it should be, for example during a typical week you'll be lucky to see 1 St.Georges cross flag, only then they'll be a sporting event to validate showing it.........


1 flag in your country?  huh.gif I went outside earlier to hit the gas station for some coffee (less then a half block away) and saw at least 10  US flags around.

Quote


However do you need to have a flag flying everywhere to remind you your American and to commemorate those that have fought for the flag?


Yes. It's a symbol of our freedom and it's nice to see every day.

Americans Are World's Most Patriotic People, National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago Finds

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#14    thebarman

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:53 PM

Quote


I must confess being English where unfortunatly patriotism is not as high on peoples agenda as it should be, for example during a typical week you'll be lucky to see 1 St.Georges cross flag, only then they'll be a sporting event to validate showing it.........

I agree ledley, that'd be the PC brigade again forcing council buildings to remove the flag of St.George to avoid offending ethnic majorities  huh.gif  

You know, I've never heard from anyone who was offended by a flag, but according to local councils they must exist in droves. If anyone out there is offended please come forward and tell me why because it baffles me  blink.gif

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#15    Purplos

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 04:16 PM

Public schools are government buildings.  Government of the USA - of which the flag is a symbol.  Makes perfect sens to have US flags on schools.

I always find it really funny that people think saying the pledge of allegiance or seeing a flag is "brainwashing."  All though my school years we had the pledge ever single morning.  I even went to a military preschool (gasp!) and I'm not a raving patriot.

Maybe people have weaker minds these days or something that a little thing like seeing a flag every day upsets their psyche.

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