There is a rise in anti-American sentiment in our very own country that has grown simultaneously with the rise of the black supremacist group Black Lives Matter which has terrorized communities and called for the death of police officers.
The social media phenomenon “Stomp the Flag,” a spinoff of “Black Lives Matter,” showed America-bashers standing on the flag with their fists raised up in the air, the signal of the racist group the Black Panthers. Now, that disrespectful action towards the American flag has a school district under fire after a picture posted by two of its students.
Two students from the Richland School District in Johnstown, Pennsylvania posted a picture on Facebook with one, a boy, standing on the American flag and the other, a girl, standing behind him flipping the flag off and sticking out her tongue. To make matters worse, the photo appears to have been taken inside one of the district’s high school classrooms.
When the photo was brought to the attention of the school district on Sunday, the district superintendent and district solicitor responded with this statement.
The Richland School District has become aware of this unfortunate and unpatriotic picture posed by some of its students. This type of picture does not represent the opinion of the District or of its overall student population. The District promises a timely and thorough review of this incident and will implement appropriate legal discipline.
There were many in the community who were outraged at the blatant disrespect shown by these students towards America.
One parent, Mindy Wadsworth told WJAC, “I thought it was disrespectful. It definitely wasn’t a representation of what Richland school district is. As a parent of a Richland student … that’s not how I would hope my child would act.”
On the district’s Facebook post about their investigation of the picture, many residents expressed shock, anger, and disgust.
Jose Torres said, “I was about to send the information, glad someone else has. I am completely appalled both as an American and a Veteran. You always think that it happens far off, not in your own backyard so to speak….I trust in your abilities that this will be handled.”
Aimee Altimore put the blame on the parents of these kids. She posted, “I hate to say it… But the fault doesn’t lie with the kids… You have to blame the parents and the teaching for this one…respect for the country you live in is not taught enough these days.”
“This is totally disrespectful to our country and the men and women who have lost their lives defending our country!!! Not to mention the numerous men and women who defend our country every day to keep our freedom,” posted by Nicole Sewak.
Others stated that while many may disagree, the Constitution protects the students’ right to show this type of disrespect to the American flag. Garth Chase posted, “The first amendment to the US Constitution allows this expression of free speech. Unfortunately for many of you, the US Constitution is the law of the land we love. Stand beside her and guide her.”
The ACLU of Pennsylvania legal director, Witold Walczak, said that while the students right to disrespect the flag is protected by the Constitution, they could still face vandalism charges if the flag was bought and paid for by the school district. He added, “The message this picture sends is not justification to punish the students so the school needs to tread very carefully here. And look at whether or not the students violated any kind of school rule.”
The district also has a pop-up on their website with their statement that the behavior of these students does not represent the district as a whole.