A high school in Santa Clarita, California, will no longer allow its football team to carry the “thin blue line” flag onto the field before games after some people complained that it made them feel “uncomfortable and unwelcome.”
Mike Khulman, superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District, said Wednesday that Saugus High School had received multiple complaints from people who claimed the pro-law enforcement flag is “divisive,” Fox News reported.
“Despite emails for immediate action, and threats of consequences if certain steps weren’t taken within a specific timeline, we determined to take our time to understand the issue accurately and to respond thoughtfully,” Khulman said, according to KHTS.
He said the school’s football coach, Jason Bornn, ultimately decided to end the practice of carrying the flag onto the field “in deference to his commitment to inclusivity, kindness and respect” and because “the team never voted as a unit to carry this banner.”
Khulman said this decision “does not translate into a change in support for law enforcement.”
“The degree of enthusiasm behind our District’s backing of law enforcement is not measured by the acceptance or rejection of any one particular symbol,” he said.
“There are countless other ways for this school and our District to communicate our profound support and appreciation for the work of those charged with keeping our community safe. Saugus High School’s administration has already begun looking for alternative ways to send this message clearly.”
Saugus has had a strong connection to law enforcement since experiencing a school shooting in 2019.
“These seniors were freshman when the Saugus school shooting happened..for these student athletes it is to honor the police officers..who ran in..to protect them”
Is the Thin Blue Line flag divisive?
— MarlaTellez (@MarlaTellez) September 29, 2022
Brandy Roggenstien, whose daughter attends the school, told KTTV-TV that “one of the first responders was a parent who dropped off a kid [at the time] and he literally saved some lives. The fact that the school is not honoring that is mind-blowing and disgusting.”
Other parents also spoke out against the school’s decision.
“For some people to say the flag is divisive shows their ignorance because these are our heroes that come in while everybody runs away,” parent Christine Ruiz said.
Another parent, Priscilla Garcia, said that “people should keep an open mind because at the end of the day, when you call 911 who’s going to come and help you?”
However, not everyone was opposed to the decision.
“The American flag has colors for a reason — red, white and blue. So when you add a blue line to one of the white stripes, it obviously changes the meaning of that flag,” D’Ante Von Wright said.
“It’s no longer the stars and stripes. It’s whatever they want it to be, so it’s a false flag. Flying it during a school event or any event is disrespectful to the country and the servicemen and women that came before.”
Another parent suggested that the school should take the vote on the matter.