A California high school football player was forced to stop carrying a pro-police flag as the team rallied on the field, as critics said it made them feel ‘unwanted and unwelcome’. comfortable”.
Some others compared the “thin blue flag” to a Confederate flag, forcing administrators at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita to tell the player to drop the controversial symbol.
The decision comes after William S. Hart Union High School District Superintendent Mike Kuhlman sent a letter explaining that the flag’s intent is to show support for law enforcement, KTLA reported.
However, Kuhlman acknowledged that the flag also offends some people.
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“While many embrace the symbol as a simple celebration of law enforcement, others shared their sense that the symbol has at times been co-opted by intolerant individuals with an agenda of division and exclusion,” wrote Kuhlman, according to the report. “I have personally spoken with some people who have shared their feelings that the symbol makes them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.”
Centurions head coach Jason Bornn ultimately decided not to display the flag again, following conversations with the school principal, according to KTLA.
“As some people have expressed concern that they are interpreting the Thin Blue Line flag as divisive, it has occurred to (the coach) that it is possible that some players on the team may not be not entirely enthusiastic about a symbol being used to represent the whole team,” Kuhlman said.
He added: “In deference to his commitment to inclusivity, kindness and respect (just loving people), and because the team never voted as a unit to carry this banner, Coach has decided to put an end to this practice.
The school principal also reiterated that the decision was not to signal a change in support for law enforcement – particularly after officers helped the school during a mass shooting in 2019 .
“It is important to support law enforcement. Those of us with first-hand memories of November 2019 will never forget their heroic response and can only be grateful for their selfless acts of service,” said Kulman writes.
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Lexi Hawk, the mother of a 16-year-old student who carried the flag onto the field, told KHTS her family was surprised by the decision and said it was made without administrators discussing it. with the players.
“There wasn’t even an offer to open the conversation. You’re not going to agree with everyone or agree with everyone’s beliefs, that’s how it is. works now, but there should have been an opportunity to open up an adult conversation,” Hawk said, KHTS reported.
The decision also comes as the team enters its seventh week, which has further troubled the family, they said. But they hope the controversy won’t impact the team’s game.
“I want everyone to stay focused on the boys,” Hawk said. “We can respect law enforcement and honor them, but the priority is the boys, and that they have the best game and the best experience possible.”
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The Saugus Centurions (5-2) defeated the Hart High School Indians (1-6) on Friday night October 7, 2022.
During the game, fans filled the stands with Thin Blue Line flags to show their support for player solidarity and support for law enforcement, according to FOX LA.
The Centurions next play on October 14.