A decision by a California high school to ban carrying a thin blue line flag has stirred up controversy on social media.
The California high school decided to prohibit its team from carrying a thin blue line flag in support of police after district administrators argued that it was too “divisive.”
Saugus High School mother Lexi Hawk, whose son carried the flag to honor law enforcement, weighed in on the controversy.
“He thinks it’s ridiculous personally, but he is respectful of the school’s decision at this time,” Hawk said. “He likes to play football. He doesn’t want anybody being offended … he would have never thought anybody would have been offended.”
The school’s decision comes three years after the Saugus High School shooting in 2019 claimed the lives of two students and injured three others.
Police response to the shooting was swift. Three off-duty police officers who had just dropped relatives off at the school were the first on the scene, followed by the school resource officer and other deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Office.
The shooter killed himself after shooting five students that day.
Hawk, who’s mother was a 20-year LAPD veteran, said social media largely contributed to the outrage.
“It was never an issue on the football team before somebody made it an issue on social media, so for him, he thought he was doing the right thing and being respectful and appreciating the law enforcement community as a whole. And somebody took it way too far,” she explained.
The decision was made unilaterally by school officials in response to the social media criticism.
“There was no discussion with the parents of the students on the football team,” Hawk added.
William S. Hart Union High School District Superintendent Mike Kuhlman sent a letter to inform the school of the decision, in which he wrote that the flag was “uncomfortable” and “unwelcome” to some.
“Given that some individuals have expressed concern that they interpret the thin blue line flag to be divisive, it occurred to (the coach) that it’s possible that some players on the team might not be entirely enthusiastic about a symbol that is being used to represent the entire team,” the superintendent said.
According to Kuhlman, the coach agreed with the decision.
“In deference to his commitment to inclusivity, kindness and respect (just loving people), and because the team never voted as a unit to carry this banner, coach decided to discontinue this practice,” he continued.
Despite not waving the flag at a recent game, Hawk said the pro-police sentiment was palpable.
“At the game on Friday, it was an overwhelming majority in the stands with their blue line flags or T-shirts or support of our law enforcement,” Hawk said. “My son’s grandparents, my parents are retired LAPD, therefore, we are very supportive of our local law enforcement.”