Via JWF, this will probably be the outrageous outrage of the day. A 13-year-old boy has flown the flag on the back of his bike to and from his middle school for a couple of months, in part to honor the military service of his grandfather. This week, according to the family, the school told Cody Alicea to remove the flag … just in time for Veterans Day. The reason? Other students complained about the American flag:
13-year-old Cody Alicea rides with an American flag on the back of his bike. He says he does this to be patriotic and to honor veterans, like his own grandfather, Robert. He’s had the flag on his bike for two months but Monday, was asked told to take it down.
A school official at Denair Middle School told Cody some students had been complaining about the flag and it was no longer allowed on school property.
The school has yet to respond, but this looks like a typical bureaucratic response to any issue rather than a particularly hostile attitude towards the flag by the administration. People complain, and instead of using it as a teaching moment to show that free speech and tolerance means allowing people to express their patriotism as well as their protests, the school instead seems to have acted to quash the controversy by pressuring the student into taking his flag down from his bicycle as the path of least resistance.
Sometimes the proper response to complaints is to reply, “Mind your own business.” I suspect that Denair Middle School’s administration is learning a lesson in free speech today, and the consequences of administrative cowardice.
Update: I have e-mailed the school principal for a comment or statement on this story, and will update when I get a response.