KENNEBUNK (WGME) — A Kennebunk high school student was to be suspended for a day following remarks made on an altered version of the American flag made for the school’s “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Day,” which was celebrated on October 25th.
The 17-year-old boy’s stepfather claims the school’s administration mishandled the comments made by his stepson on the day of the event.
The boy’s stepfather, Sean White, made the following remarks recalling the incident, according to 13 WGME:
“He walked, not through the main entrance, but through the side entrance, and expressed loudly ‘That flag is a disgrace,'” father Sean White said.
White goes onto mention how the incident upset his son, who expressed his opinion at the flag:
“He didn’t threaten anyone, he didn’t swear at anyone, destroy property he just stated that he was offended by a disgraceful flag, the alteration of our American flag.”
White’s stepson was to serve a one-day suspension, but it was overturned after White and the boy’s mother met up with school staff.
White and the boy’s mother were also given an apology for the initial punishment.
“They’re telling him that he has a right to free speech, but he may have offended someone, so in that case they have to punish him to relegate the fact that they’ve done something.
“Their stance is that had someone heard him, a student, a foreign person, a transgender, he may have offended someone which he hadn’t, he was heard by someone off camera,” White said. “They had to go to video camera to even know that my son was the one who said it.
“For him to care about what he cares about his patriotism, the flag, it’s good, it’s what we’re missing in America.
“Please don’t take this as an anti-gay or an anti-immigrant or anything other than what it really is, in which is protecting our rights as Americans to speak our mind in a non-threatening, positive manner,” White said.
According to CBS13, the principle confirmed that the case had been closed.
Alterations to the flag are not illegal and are sometimes common for similarly themed events.
In Canada, a 17-year-old student was recently suspended for plastering a poster and refusing to wear an altered Remembrance Sunday poppy containing the LGBT rainbow flag, suggesting it was disrespectful to the dead.
The school allegedly confiscated the girl’s phone–after she had recorded her conversation with administrators over her suspension–and had been ordered to keep silent over the decision.