Washington High School Cancels 9/11 Event Over Concerns It Could Offend Students

Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Kendall Tietz Education Reporter
Font Size:

Staff at a Washington state high school cancelled a student-promoted patriotic themed football game Friday, which was supposed to serve as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, according to emails obtained by local outlet 770 KTTH.

“Our leadership teachers made this decision and explained it to students,” Principal Chris Bede wrote to the mother of a student at Eastlake High School in Sammamish, Washington, KTTH reported. “I know tomorrow is 9/11 and understand the sacrifice and values our flag represents, but I think they just did not want to unintentionally cause offense to some who see it differently.”

NEW: Students were set to wear red, white & blue colors at their football game to honor the lives lost on 9/11.

But school staff pulled the plug.

The principal said it could “unintentionally cause offense to some who see it differently.”

— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) September 12, 2021

Students learned during Friday’s morning announcements that staff cancelled plans to dress in red, white and blue for the football game over concerns that it would offend students, KTTH reported.

“At this point, I was fairly upset and confused as to why the theme was changed so I went around asking students in our leadership,” one student told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “They had explained that red, white, and blue was going to be seen as racially insensitive and may affect people in a way that we will not understand and for that reason that we were to change our theme.”

Bede and the school district’s Communications Director Shannon Parthemer did not go into detail about who would take offense to students wearing red, white and blue, KTTH reported. Parthemer indicated it had something to do with the rival team not having context for why they were wearing patriotic colors.

“Since it was not a home game, there was no opportunity to have an announcement about Patriot’s Day and to share why students were dressed in red, white, and blue,” Parthemer explained in a statement to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. Parthemer indicated that one staff member was responsible for the cancellation and that they “have followed up with the staff member on decision making processes.”

Emails obtained by KTTH indicated Bede was surprised by the decision to cancel the theme. (RELATED: Baylor University Labels 9/11 Flag Tribute With Trigger Warning)

“I understand your perspective and was not looped into this conversation until an hour ago,” Bede told a parent in an email obtained by KTTH. “I do want to clarify that schools do not have a right to ban students from wearing anything as long as it is not lewd, vulgar, etc. And the theme of red, white, and blue definitely would not fit into that category.”

Many parents were angry with the school’s decision to cancel the football game theme, KTTH reported.

“I would argue that many more people are offended by the decision to ban the theme of wearing red, white and blue,” one parent wrote, KTTH reported. “If there is one thing that has the potential to unite us all, it’s that we are Americans.”

Eastlake High School did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact