A high school in Cold Spring, Minnesota recently banned students from displaying the American flag anywhere on their vehicle because some students were displaying a Confederate flag, which some people found “offensive.” To push back against such an absurd rule, several patriotic students got together and engaged in a peaceful protest by proudly flying “Old Glory” on each of their cars in the parking lot.
Specifically, on the first day of school, administrators at ROCORI High School, which gets its name from an acronym combining the names of Rockville, Cold Spring, and Richmond, the three towns that the school serves, informed students about several changes that were made to the school’s High School handbook over the summer. One of the changes involved banning flags from vehicles. According to the revised policy, “students are [no longer] allowed to display flags or banners from their vehicle while parked in the ROCORI High School parking lot.”
Unsurprisingly, many students were outraged by the school’s new rule. But rather than take over the school, like students did in Evergreen, or engage in a riot, like students did in Berkeley, they decided to peacefully protest the policy by gathering in the school parking lot the next afternoon. Each of the protesters’ cars had an American flag attached, which blatantly violated the school’s new rule. In total, approximately thirty students and parents participated in the protest.
One of the students who participated in the protest was Mitchell Rieland. When asked what motivated him to push back against the school’s new policy, he stated, “we feel like this is America. How can we not fly our own flag on our trucks if we want? It just doesn’t seem right.”
A friend of his, who was also at the protest, was also baffled by the new rule. “You have all your warriors and soldiers out there fighting but [you’re not allowed] to fly it,” he pointed out.
In addition to the students, several family members and local residents also came out to support the protest. “My son came home from school and told me that they weren’t allowed to fly the American flag on their vehicles anymore. We just didn’t think that was right by no means at all,” explained Don Ihrke, a parent of one of the students.
“I’m here to support my son who’s making a stand,” he continued, noting, “this is his truck and he’s proud of his truck, and he’s proud of his American flag. He has a sister who’s a sergeant in the Marine corps and he’s proud of his sister.”
Another local resident also at the protest added, “I’m proud of those kids. I’m just so proud that they’re standing up for it.”
Following the protest, school officials released a statement complimenting the students for leading “a very respectful and appropriate protest of the RHS student handbook guideline regarding display of flags on vehicles.”
In their statement, they also informed students that their demonstration compelled the school to revise their ban on American flags. Specifically, they said, “as a result of the student demonstration, conversations with student leaders and school administrators occurred. The conversations focused on the issue of flags that might cause other students to be threatened, uncomfortable, or feel unsafe in the school setting…[because] of the interactions, the handbook guideline will be withdrawn by ROCORI High School.”
School’s must not be allowed to censor their students. This includes banning them from displaying a flag on their truck. Fortunately, the school did the right thing and reversed their policy. Hopefully, other schools learn from their mistake and avoid enacting a similar policy.