A school district in Ohio is banning “thin blue line” flags. Previously, a high school football player carried one onto the field to honor both local first responders. A coach at the high school is a police officer.
“This display will not be a part of future pre-game activities at Chardon athletic contests,” Michael P. Hanlon Jr., Chardon local schools superintendent, wrote in a statement August 31. “In addition, measures will be put in place by our athletic director to review any planned pre-game displays for possible connections to any form of discrimination or particular political views.”
‘Thin Blue Line’ flags caused a debate among the community.
The football player’s display caused a debate among the community. Some viewed it as innocent support for local first responders while others questioned whether the display had racial connotations. Residents began to reach out to district administrators, according to Hanlon.
Hanlon believes people could interpreted the flag as a “racially motivated action.” District policy does not “permit engagement in political activity.”
Chardon High School has close ties to first responders as a result of a shooting eight years ago. The shooter, T.J. Lane, killed three and injured two. A jury sentenced him to life in prison.
“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,” Hanlon wrote. He noted the special relationship first responders had with the school.
Geauga County Commissoner Ralph Spidalieri condemned the ban. He also called for the superintendent’s resignation, according to Cleveland-based 19 News.
“Your letter sickens me and so many others that have reached out to me and expressed the same disgust with your inability to stand up and recognize their patriotism,” Spidalieri wrote in reference to the players who ran out alongside the flag.
[H/T: Fox News]