UPDATE: The principal of a South Carolina high school has reversed his controversial decision to bar the American flag from football games, according to a spokesperson for Greenville County Schools.
ORIGINAL: A South Carolina man was seeing red after picking up his younger brother from a high school football game and learning that the principal had denied entry into the game to a couple young men who were carrying American flags.
Hunter Ballew, whose Facebook page says he has been a Marine Corps recruiter, posted his story on social media Saturday, still upset that Lou Lavely, Principal at Travelers Rest High School, had not allowed the young men to bring the flags into the game. He had then taken the flag and tried to go in himself, and was also told not to bring it on the property.
Ballew said, “I’m sick of this political correctness. We need to do something about it because it’s not getting any better.” He was also upset that the police seemed to take the side of the principal.
Word spread throughout the community, and by Saturday afternoon, school officials and local law enforcement tried to smooth it over.
Lavely insisted that he has the “utmost respect” for the flag, and claimed that he didn’t allow the flags to be brought in “in the spirit of patriotism and respect for the flag” so it wouldn’t be used in an “improper, taunting manner.”
(No report is found of the young men actually using the flags in an improper or taunting manner – they weren’t even allowed to bring them in.)
Travelers Rest school, and the principal of the Berea High School, released statements in support of Lavely, all assuring the public of Lavely’s patriotism and support for veterans.
Police Chief Lance Crowe weighed in on the matter as well, saying the police officer who had to intervene in the incident Friday night did not endorse barring the American flag from the game, but had to keep peace between the school staff and the patron of the game. He said the officer is himself an Army veteran, and disagreed “with the position in which he found himself,” but he was sworn to keep the peace.
WBTW News 13 reported that Monday morning, several Travelers Rest students came to school with American flags on their vehicles… and no students were turned away.
There was also a larger group of students than usual who gathered at the flag pole Monday morning at the Berea High School, with some students wearing red, white and blue and others waving flags.
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