A Virginia teenager was told he had to remove two large American flags from his truck if he wanted to park in the school lot — so he left the school to be homeschooled instead.
Officials at Staunton River High School in Bedford County, Virginia, warned Christopher Hartless to take his flags down; he claimed they told him the flags were a “distraction.” When he refused, they reportedly took away his parking pass if he continued to fly them. Rather than ride the bus to school, Hartless simply decided to try homeschooling.
High school student Christopher Hartless said “he is just exercising his First Amendment rights by flying the flags.” https://t.co/bwhD4v44cP
— WALB News 10 (@WALBNews10) August 23, 2023
“My family fought for America and I feel like I should be able to represent the flag that they fought for,” Hartless said.“I don’t understand how it’s distracting if they have one on the flagpole that every other student can see.”
His stepmother, Christina Kingery, chimed in, “I told my son if this is what he’s believing in, then we are both going to stand behind him all the way. … “If they’re willing to change and let kids want to fly the American flag, then I’ll put him back in Staunton River… possibly put him back in Staunton River, but if they don’t, then I’m going to continue to let him fly his flags.”
“I think that every student doesn’t matter what you believe in, what flag you fly, as long as it’s not harmful and it doesn’t disgrace our country, you have the right to fly it,” she concluded.
The school sent an explanation for their actions to parents that read, “The student parking contract, which has been used by all 3 of our high schools for many years, states, ‘Large flags or banners are not allowed to be flown or displayed on vehicles due to their distractive nature…’”
“Please be assured that we proudly fly the American flag throughout the school, and the Pledge of Allegiance is recited every morning,” the statement continued.
The National D-Day Memorial also resides in Bedford County to honor American GIs who helped invade France at Normandy on June 6, 1944, during World War II.
“Dedicated on June 6, 2001, by United States president George W. Bush and receiving as many as 100,000 visitors per year, the memorial is remarkable for its stone arch that rises nearly forty-five feet in the air,” Encyclopedia Virginia notes. “The memorial is located in Bedford partly for symbolic reasons: the Virginia town lost nineteen of its men engaged that day, all members of Company A, 29th Infantry Division, possibly the largest per capita loss of any town in America on that day.”