On 22 August 2016 Facebook user Debbie Knox published a post on Facebook pertaining to Peotone High School in Illinois, reporting that students there “were told that the American flag will not be tolerated in any way shape or form, as it will offend others”:
So, my dear friends nephew goes to Peotone high school. They had an assembly and were told that the American flag will not be tolerated in any way shape or form, as it will offend others. He has an American flag on his vehicle and was suspended! This is such bullshit! Our rights as American citizens are being stripped before our eyes! People we need to stand up to this bullshit! This is outright insanity! Jer and I plan on driving around the school with our flag flying high in support of all who are being suppressed! Anyone who wants to join us is welcome!
Knox maintained that Peotone High School held an assembly to notify students the American flag had been banned because it “offend[ed]” people” and that no version of the flag would be “tolerated” on school grounds, and she invited local residents to protest the purported policy by visiting the facility with prominently displayed flags. On 24 August 2016 the Facebook page “Peotone High School Blue Devils” shared the following message to clarify what they described as “misinformation” regarding a student’s purportedly being suspended for displaying a U.S. flag on his vehicle:
We would like to clarify some misinformation going around social media regarding the U.S. flag. Please know that at no time was a student suspended for flying a U.S. flag on their vehicle, nor were students told that the U.S. flag could not be flown as it may offend others. We have put a new procedure in place stating that students are not to fly any flags on their vehicles while on school property. For us, safety is of paramount importance and we have asked that students not fly flags on vehicles due to the visual obstruction they create, especially when backing up.
Students are more than welcome to show their patriotism by placing U.S. flag decals or magnetic clings on their vehicles.
We contacted Peotone High School for additional information about the rumors, and the representative with whom we spoke confirmed that no general flag ban was in place. The rep explained that students there were increasingly displaying flags on their cars in a visually obstructive manner that could pose a hazard to student drivers, necessitating a directive to address that issue. Students are still free to display non-visually impairing representations of the U.S. flag on their vehicles in other forms, such as decals or magnetic clings.
Moreover, the representative confirmed that U.S. flags are present in every classroom there and that the Pledge of Allegiance is recited daily before the commencement of classes. As such, there is no truth to the claim U.S. flags have been “banned” at Peotone High School, nor that during an assembly staff told students that the American flag was deemed “offensive” and wouldn’t be tolerated.
The rep also told us that no one had been suspended over displaying a flag (as some versions of the rumor claimed), nor had any cars been towed for having visually obstructive flags attached to them (as stated in another variation of the rumor).
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