Administrators at a public high school in New Hampshire have banned students from using American flags as props or clothing at a forthcoming pep rally because the administrators are concerned that students will treat the flag disrespectfully.
The site of the flag fracas is Londonderry High School, reports local ABC affiliate WMUR-TV.
A couple dozen Londonderry High student athletes who will organize the pep rally received letters describing the event’s rules last week. Most of the rules were standard fare: no insults about opposing teams, no getting naked — that kind of thing.
The students who received the letter did notice the added rule about the U.S. flag. The rule read: “No use of the American flag. Do not wear, carry, present the American flag on the floor.”
Students and parents began inquiring about the new rule.
“We’ve had a lot of questions from parents and community members, and this a community that has a considerable tradition of patriotism,” Londonderry school district superintendent Scott Laliberte told WMUR.
Laliberte has issued a statement clarifying the rule.
“It was not our intention to ban the use of the flag at the rally, but instead to limit how students are including the flag in the school event,” the statement says, according to Londonderry News.
“There have been incidents in the past where students carried flags, but in a manner not consistent with the American Legion Flag Code. At previous rallies, some students have included it as part of an outfit allowing the flag to drag on the ground. The email was simply meant to avoid repeating any inadvertent disrespect of our nation’s flag,” the statement also said.
One previous incident in particular involved a student traipsing around that a school pep rally while wearing an American flag as a cape.
“Students are welcomed to bring American flags to the rally, so long as they are displayed with the respect that is deserved.”
Londonderry High principal Jason Parent echoed Laliberte’s statement.
“It was out of reverence for the flag,” Parent told WMUR regarding the new policy.
“It’s just that, in this forum, we wanted the flag to be respected.”
The upcoming pep rally at Londonderry High School will include a rendition of the national anthem.