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Indiana school asks student to remove US flag from his truck

Staff members at the school claimed it violated school rules, but the student said their handbook doesn't say anything about flags in the parking lot.
Indiana school asks student to remove US flag from his truck
Posted at 11:43 AM, Mar 10, 2024

A high school in Eastern Indiana is under fire after reportedly asking a student to remove an American flag from the back of his truck. 

East Central High School senior Cameron Blasek says wherever he goes, so does “Old Glory.” The American Flag blows in the wind on the back of his blue Dodge 4x4.

"The flag itself represents this country, this beautiful country that we live in," Blasek said. "It also represents the people who fought their lives for it. And I think that’s a really hard thing to talk about, but I think it's a big thing."

The 17-year-old fastened the flag to his truck last summer and has driven it to school every day, he said. It abides by the U.S. flag code.

However, on Thursday, Blasek said he was pulled aside by his guidance counselor and vice principal. He said they told him he needed to remove the flag from the back of the truck because it violated school rules.

Blasek said school officials told him it could lead to other students flying flags "that are seen as offensive."

"Honestly, I was shocked," he said. "I read through the… 2023-2024 Handbook, and the word 'flag' wasn't even mentioned in the parking lot or driving section. The only section it's mentioned in is the flag-twirling section."

So Blasek kept the flag on his truck. The following day, several other students showed up to the parking lot with American flags on their own vehicles.

"There was a huge support group there that believed and stood for the same thing that I did," he said. "I was kind of shocked by that."

Friday afternoon, principal Tom Black sent a note to parents to "offer clarification" and "address recent concerns and confusions."

"I am pleased to inform you that we are allowing the display of the U.S. flag by students in the parking lot," the letter stated.

In an email to Scripps News Cincinnati, Black clarified that "no high school staff member or administrators stated or insinuated that the U.S. flag was offensive, nor has there ever been a complaint received about the U.S. flag."

"The U.S. flag is displayed in the front of our school and in every classroom. We begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. Clearly, we do not consider the US Flag offensive," the principal said.

"Friday morning, after consulting with other administrators, we determined that we would allow the US Flag to be displayed, and would prohibit other flags if they were determined to be offensive," Black continued.

The school did not immediately respond to a follow-up question about whether a rule prohibiting flags is in the handbook and why the student was given a reminder on Thursday.

Black also said the school has no plan to "change our handbook."

The American flag has been politicized in recent years. A 2022 YouGov poll shows far less Democrats (49%) have a "very positive view" of the American flag compared to Republicans (83%),

The whole incident is going viral on social media. It was picked up by a Twitter account, where it now has more than five million views.

"I was pretty surprised by that," said Cameron’s father, Christopher Blasek.

There are veterans in their family, and Cameron is considering joining the service after graduation this spring.

"I think everybody gets offended over something, that it doesn't mean what everybody says it does," Blasek said. "This flag represents our country and the people who died for it and fought for it. And I respect that with my whole heart."

This story was originally published by Andrew Rowan at Scripps News Cincinnati

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