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May 07, 2010

The Story I Didnít Write About

Yesterday, I wrote about a flag story from California. In doing so, I made a conscious decision to NOT write about one right here in Houston. If that seems contradictory, let me offer an explanation.

What happened in the case up at Klein Collins High School? Well, here is the original report, including the graphic that went along with it.

upsidedown-l[1].jpg

Local School Suspends Student for Removing MEXICAN Flag

Yesterday, a listenerís son was offended that his school, Klein Collins High School, displayed the Mexican flag prominently. His mother called to complain, and the school wouldnít return her call. The student took the sign down.

The school pitched a fit, reviewed the surveillance tapes, found the student, and suspended him for 3 days. AND he has to pay for the flag. In light of the SF story of students sent home for wearing the AMERICAN flag because it offended the Hispanic students, I thought youíd like to know about a story closer to home.

Right here in our community. Feel free to let the school know what you think. You pay their salaries.

* * *

You realize, I assume, that if a student removed Ė or even burned Ė the AMERICAN flag, they wouldnít do anything about it, Iíll bet.

Frankly, I found the report to be too sketchy. Was it a flag or a poster? Where was it? How was it displayed? Why make the kid pay for the flag? And since I recognized the picture that went along with the post by radio host Michael Berry to be one from a California school during the immigration rage days of several years back, I didnít make the assumption that the kid was correcting the incorrect display of an American flag that was depicted there.

Plus, I could find NO OTHER MEDIA REPORT on the matter at the time, which made me suspicious

Well, sure enough, more information has come to light. In particular, here is what was removed.

700_1273244374[1].jpg

The Houston Chronicle provides additional details about the matter in a story today.

There was no improper display of the US flag, nor was there an improper display of the Mexican flag (insofar as flag etiquette would be concerned). A school official, after a request by a student, decided to permit the hanging a Mexican flag (owned by that student) in a respectful way to mark the day. I may serious reservations about that decision, but I have none about the decision to punish a kid who made the decision to take the flag down on his own non-existent personal authority or because his mommy said he could. He was out of line, and ought to be disciplined. And if he damaged the flag (and he apparently threw it into a garbage can, making damage a distinct possibility), he has a moral and legal obligation to pay to replace the property he destroyed. That is just common sense and common decency Ė something he and his mother clearly lack based on their whining as if the student was the victim in this instance rather than the perpetrator of an act of vandalism at school. They should count themselves lucky that there is not an appearance in court in the kidís future over this Ė and not because of anything resembling hate crime charges.

In short, we have a punk kid engaging in property damage that should have gotten him a criminal charge, a punk mama trying to stir things up while withholding important details about the incident in an effort to vindicate her punk son, and a punk radio host ginning up a controversy by engaging in what amounted to journalistic malpractice.

Should the Mexican flag have been displayed? Iíd argue that it should not have been Ė but only because national holidays of other nations are not marked in the same way. I donít care how many Mexicans there are at Klein Collins High School Ė Mexico is no more or less special than any other foreign country in regards to how it should be treated by a school. Thatís why I liked the display of flags at the high school where I formerly taught Ė a flag representing the heritage of every student and teacher has hung for years in the cafeteria area, with about 50 flags on display at all times. There is even a process for adding a flag to the display. An American flag is central to the display.

Iíll close with the observation made at Hot Air:

Like it or not, students donít make the rules at school, and the student in question had no business removing a school display without permission from the administration. One can question whether a three-day suspension was warranted, but itís difficult to argue with the application of disciplinary action.

And there I stand, absent the addition of more information that significantly changes the story as it now stands.





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NAME: Greg
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