High School Sparks First Amendment Debate With American Flag Display on the Floor

High School Sparks First Amendment Debate With American Flag Display on the Floor

A suburban high school has come under fire for displaying an American flag on the floor, sparking a debate on social media over First Amendment rights.

‘Issues that are relevant to them, school, and society…’

Once again York community high school decided to spit in the face of everyone that has sacrificed everything for this…

Posted by Noah Krauter on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, hosted the display as part of a forum intended to spark debate over free speech among students. According to a letter sent to parents by Principal Erin DeLuga, it was hoped that the display would encourage students “to explore the complexities of the constitutionally protected right of free speech by examining real cases.”

Dear Parents,Today, all sophomore students engaged in an interdisciplinary forum integrating their experiences in…

Posted by York Community High School on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“This is in no way meant to disrespect the flag, the military, or the government; rather, it was used for students to reconcile their feelings about current issues and whether their First Amendment rights are protected,” DeLuga added.

“These are difficult conversations when challenging students to think critically about issues that are relevant to them, school, and society.

Dread Scott’s “What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?” pushed the boundaries of what it is to be American. His…

Posted by Alicia Shanks on Thursday, September 28, 2017

The display was a recreation of Dread Scott’s “What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?,” which had been hosted at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989. The piece already became a figure of controversy when then-current President George H.W. Bush deemed it “disgraceful.” The school’s display was reportedly one of four pieces concerning the topic of the First Amendment, also including pieces on social media, banned books, and music lyrics.

The school later issued an apology, with people divided on the display

With history repeating itself, parents and even some students themselves have said that the school’s recreation was also inappropriate. A senior at the school, identified as Noah Krauter, pointed out that the lesson could have taught simply by studying the original Scott piece, without recreating it. As he added, “My reaction was absolute disbelief…I just couldn’t believe they had an act like that in the middle of the library, where thousands of students walk through. It’s unbelievably disrespectful.” As mentioned, with the story trending on social media, other critics have made their point. One woman wrote, “The flag should have never touched the ground. Teach young people today to respect the greatest country on earth. The flag is not a social experiment. This is a disgrace.”

Others have been more sympathetic towards the school. As another wrote, “I’m a proud York graduate today…It looks like a lot of people on this thread could have used a lesson on this topic as well.” Another who claimed to be the parent of a student at the school added, “According to my son, they are reviewing court cases & debating both sides of issues. This was ONE example of democracy in action. Let’s get the whole story (both sides) before condemning. This was meant to bring up some emotion tied to our constitution and did it ever!!”

After the letter, the school also released another statement on social media, where it was once again emphasized that the school intended to teach a lesson about the First Amendment, but also apologized to those offended.

Statement Regarding York High School Flag DisplayOn Tuesday, September 26, York Community High School's entire…

Posted by York Community High School on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

(H/T: Chicago Tribune)