A family has made the decision to withdraw their son from school after he was instructed to remove the American flag from his truck.
The student, Christopher Hartless, from Virginia, believes that his act of flying the American flag on his vehicle is protected under the First Amendment, a principle he is eager to uphold.
Christopher’s stance is centred on his belief in exercising his freedom of expression by proudly displaying the American flag on his truck.
He argues that the school’s assertion that the flags are a distraction is unfounded, especially since the school itself has a large flag on display.
In an interview with ABC affiliate WSET-TV, Christopher said: “My family fought for America and I feel like I should be able to represent the flag that they fought for.”
Supporting Christopher’s stance, his stepmother, Christina Kingery, expressed her confusion over the school’s contradictory approach.
“If this is what he believes in, me and his dad are both going to stand behind him all the way to the end of it,” she said.
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“If they’re willing to change and let kids want to fly the American flag, then I’ll put him back in Staunton River… possibly put him back in Staunton River, but if they don’t, then I’m going to continue to let him fly his flags.”
In light of the situation, the family has made the decision to homeschool Christopher after his parking pass was revoked due to the flag display.
She added: “I think that every student doesn’t matter what you believe in, what flag you fly, as long as it’s not harmful and it doesn’t disgrace our country, you have the right to fly it.”
Staunton River High School responded to the situation by issuing a statement to clarify their position.
It read: “Flag clarification: Last week, we conducted a standard review of the Student Code of Conduct.
“Unfortunately, there has been some incorrect information posted on several social media websites, so I would like to provide clarification about the American flag on student attire, safety provisions in our student parking contract, and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“The BCPS Code of Student Conduct prohibits ‘Attire that has language or images that are offensive, profane, vulgar, discriminatory, or racially/culturally divisive.
“This would include confederate flags, swastikas, KKK references, or any other images that might reasonably be considered hurtful or intimidating to others’.
“It does not include wearing clothing with American flag logos or prints on attire.”
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It continued: “This attire is allowed. Regarding flags on cars, the student parking contract, which has been used by all 3 of our high schools for many years, states, ‘Large flags or banners are not allowed to be flown or displayed on vehicles due to their distractive nature’.
“School Board Policy IEA: Promotion of Patriotism states, ‘the current American flag shall be displayed on the grounds of every school,’ and the Pledge of Allegiance ‘shall be recited daily, each morning, in every classroom’ in accordance with state law.
“Please be assured that we proudly fly the American flag throughout the school, and the Pledge of Allegiance is recited every morning.
“Unfortunately, some of the speakers in our intercom system, which was upgraded over the summer, were not functioning properly on the first day of school.
“This was immediately reported and has been corrected.”