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23rd Aug 2023

Family pull son out of school after he’s told to remove American flags from his truck

Steve Hopkins

‘My family fought for America and I feel like I should be able to represent the flag that they fought for’

A family in the US has pulled their son out of high school after he was reportedly told to remove American flags he’d mounted on his truck.

Christopher Hartless – who attended Staunton River High School in Virginia – says he is exercising his First Amendment right to fly the flag on his vehicle, but the school says they’re a “distraction” and a safety issue.

“My family fought for America and I feel like I should be able to represent the flag that they fought for,” Hartless told local media.

Speaking to ABC affiliate, WSET-TV, he added: “I don’t understand how it’s a distraction if they have one on the flagpole that every other student can see.”

His step-mum, Christina Kingery, told the network she is standing by her step-son: “If this is what he is believing (sic) in, me and his dad are both going to stand behind him all the way to the end of it.”

Kingery said it the school changes its policy, she will “possibly” let him return to classes, “but if they don’t, then I’m going to continue to let him fly his flags.”

She also claimed Hartless’ parking pass was revoked.

Because Kingery doesn’t want Hartless to take the bus, the family will homeschool him.

“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.” she added.

The school told WSET-TV that it had conducted a review of the Student Code of Conduct last week and sought to clarify the flag situation, saying there was “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.”

The statement made clear that this attire is allowed, but flags are cars was a separate issue.

“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.”

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