A Tennessee school district has banned students from flying all flags, including the American flag, from the back of pick-up trucks on school property because it doesn’t want to take a chance on students bringing any flags that others may find offensive.
If students violate the flag ban, they’ll be kicked out of school, students told WHBQ-TV.
School leaders in Dickson County made the controversial decision after a summer of heated debate surrounding the Confederate flag after a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The American flag just outside the entrance to the district’s schools will stay, but students who wish to express themselves more personally won’t be able to.
Some students are angry as they feel their patriotism is being compromised.
“I just think that’s a right. It’s freedom of expression and I don’t think you should be able to take that away from us,” student Arianna Heisler said. “If you want to fly a Confederate flag and if you want to fly a rainbow flag, fly a rainbow flag. Whatever you want.”
School officials, who say they haven’t had any issues with the policy so far, said there are a number of ways by which students can still express themselves, although they did not state any of the ways.
“While this was not necessarily an attack on the American flag, there were some other issues we’re trying to address,” said Steve Sorrells, Dickson County director of student services. “It’s not an unpatriotic act by any means because we have a number of ways in which students do learn how to be patriotic and express American pride.”