After a backlash on social media, Derby High School in Kansas said that a teacher had acted in error when they confiscated a Trump flag from a student at a football game.
The Kansas high school had declared Friday’s game to be military themed; students came to watch the match all dressed up in red, white, and blue outfits. Many decided they would also express their support for President Trump, and had brought MAGA gear and painting “Trump 2020” on themselves.
One student brought a Trump 2020 flag, which seemed to irk Derby High School Assistant Principal Alison Strecker, who took the flag from the student, and began ranting about the President.
Lt Kevin Miller of the Kansas National Guard was present at the game and witnessed the incident unfold:
After getting seats with my wife in the bleachers on the south end, I decided to go and divulge in the concession stands, right before kick-off at 7pm. On my way back to the bleachers I had noticed a female holding a flag (which I had seen earlier, from a student holding it). The flag was a “Trump for president 2020” flag. As I walked by within a few feet from this female wearing a Derby shirt and what appeared to be a faculty member, I had heard her say, clear as day “not my president.” The student’s response was, “he is your president!”… The flag was given back to the student and he had to take it out of the stadium.
A video of the tussle was released onto social media, with many decrying the actions of Strecker as an attack on the First Amendment rights of the student involved. The Supreme Court was on the side of the student: Tinker vs. Des Moines (1969) clearly states that “students [do] not lose their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech when they [step] onto school property.” The case was ruled 7-2 in favour, after school officials sent students home for wearing black armbands in protest against the Vietnam War.
After the backlash had hit, Andy Koenigs, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at the school said that the administration had “investigated the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident,” and decided the student had done nothing wrong:
There was a misunderstanding about how to handle any flags that may have been brought into the event that evening. Derby Public Schools supports our students’ rights in this incident and the request to remove the flag was done in error. We apologize for the situation that occurred last night and regret that this incident may have detracted from Military Night and the celebration it is meant to be for our members of the military.
Last week, a group of North Carolina cheerleaders were placed on probation by school officials for posing with a Trump 2020 banner. A rally in support of the girls was planned for Friday’s game, but the match was cancelled due to “security concerns.”