I saw an interesting article posted by Michelle Malkin responding to a high school that banned the wearing of clothes with any flags on them. NBC17.com reports on this story this way:
On the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, students at one high school were not allowed to wear clothes with an American flag.
Under a new school rule, students at Hobbton High School are not allowed to wear items with flags, from any country, including the United States.
The new rule stems from a controversy over students wearing shirts bearing flags of other countries.
Gayle Langston said her daughter, Jessica, was told to remove her Stars and Stripes t-shirt.
Today she wanted to wear her shirt, and I had to tell her no, said Langston. She didn’t like it at all because I knew it would get her in trouble. Of all days, 9/11, she could not wear her American Flag shirt.
The superintendent of schools in Sampson County calls the situation unfortunate, but says educators didnt want to be forced to pick and choose which flags should be permissible.
A quick knee-jerk response is to tell the school to only allow the American flag and to ban all the others. After all, we’re here in America. But the ACLU says they will sue the school if they ban all flags but the American flag. And that ignores the many people who are proud of their heritage.
The Superintendent for that school, Dr. L. Stewart Hobbs, Jr., lifted the ban when he found out about it, and he said that individual schools in the district will not be allowed to make dress code rules anymore.
After reading the story on Michelle Malkin’s site this week, I looked up the U.S. Flag Code, and I found a great page about flag etiquette. It shows how to properly display the flag, and it has a great FAQ with some very good questions. Several of them I really liked. For example, a home owners association cannot stop you from flying the American flag. The common flag stamps issued by the Post Office violates the U.S. Flag Code because they used in a way that could make it easy to be torn or damaged, and the flag shouldn’t get any printing or marks on it. The only state to have never been under another flag is Idaho. (Yay, Idaho!) And there is a explanation of the difference between “half-staff” vs. “half-mast.”
But I had forgotten that the U.S. Flag Code says in section 8d: “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery….” That’s pretty clear. And it was ironic that I was wearing my flag shirt when I read the Flag Code. So I’m torn because now I know that my flag shirt violates the Flag Code, but I love my flag shirt. For several years now my family has crafted flag shirts around July 4th. I had thought they were OK because they weren’t exactly the same as the flag, but the FAQ explained that if it is recognizable as a flag, then it is a flag regardless of the number of stars, stripes, or general layout. The website even has examples.
And after having read the Flag Code, I’m beginning to see violations all over the place. Yesterday, I noticed a flag on a bike rack. It was engraved on a little plaque along with the business information and bolted to the bottom of the bike rack stand. The flag is not to be used for advertisement purposes, and it shouldn’t touch anything below it, so there’s two violations.
But who does anything about violations of the Flag Code? Will a cop arrest me the next time I wear my flag shirt? I don’t think so. I can’t find any example of people being arrested for a Flag Code violation other than for flag burning. And I’ve always seen it as ironic that protesters burn the flag in protest, when section 8k of Flag Code specifies burning as the preferred way of destroying a flag. But it also says it “should be destroyed in a dignified way,” and I don’t think the protesters are burning the flag in a dignified way.
So we are left with a Flag Code explaining how to treat the American flag, but it appears that few, if any, people, other than some over-zealous school officials, are actively doing anything to enforce the Flag Code.
And it’s time I got a new flag.