Officials at Denair Middle School in California asked 13-year-old Cody Alicea to remove the American flag on the back of his bike because it caused racial tension at his school. According to news outlet KCRA, Alicea “put the flag there as a show of support for the veterans in his family.” But Superintendent Edward Parraz says by asking Alicea to hide the U.S. flag, “he’s trying to avoid tension on campus.”
Why would an American flag cause tension, you ask? Because, says Parraz, “Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they’ll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don’t really want.”
I have so many questions, but first and foremost, shouldn’t a Superintendent be a bit more eloquent about his, you know, student body?
Parraz says, “The First Amendment is important. We want the kids to respect it, understand it, and with that comes a responsiblity.” Yes, as well as being a Superintendent does. It seems to me that Parraz should be spending more of his time teaching his students to respect each other’s cultures, not encouraging them to hide them from one another. While Parraz argues that he wants his students to “appreciate the cultures,” his answer to the apparent racial tension in his district is to simply hide a flag?
KCRA notes, “Outside of the school, a large U.S. flag flies from atop a flagpole.” It’s easy to see why the news outlet is questioning the removal of an American flag from a school; after all, students pledge allegiance to the flag each morning in most schools across the country. I understand that Parraz is trying to avoid trouble amongst the student body, but in asking a student to remove our nation’s flag, he’s causing trouble with conservatives instead. Fox Nation ran a teaser of this story with the headline, “School Bans Student From Flying US Flag for ‘Racial’ Reasons.”
According to a follow-up interview with Parraz published by Fox40, “Cody is now allowed to ride onto school campus with Old Glory on the back. Parraz is aware of the outcry across the nation over this story. He says they embrace the American flag, they are patriotic, but that their main priority is keeping students safe.”
If Denair Middle School is filled with racial tension, focusing on a flag is a bit shortsighted. Parraz should let students know they are free to bring a Mexican or American flag to school, but remind them that they are all proud members of the Denair Middle School community. In other words, order some school penants to boost everyone’s morale and host a student convocation to discuss and (ideally) solve the racial tension, stat.