Green Room

School confiscates autistic 12-year-old’s American flag

posted at 1:07 pm on September 16, 2011 by

It is reassuring to know we live in a nation where a racist goon is free to incite a black audience to wage war against “capitalist bloodsucker America,” but a patriotic autistic child is prohibited from waving the Stars and Stripes.

Both stories are headlined at The Blaze, and the contrast is striking, even if the central figure in the first story—New Black Panther leader Malik Shabazz—is so extreme that he has managed to marginalize himself and his group.

I nevertheless stand behind Shabazz’s constitutionally protected right to speak his mind, right up until the point where he shouts “Fire” in a crowded theater (a point he is dangerously close to reaching). I am equally supportive of the First Amendment rights of 12-year-old son, Shawn Stevens, of Dover, New Hampshire. Those rights haven’t prevented officials at the middle school he attends from confiscating his American flag because the rod it is attached to is viewed as a potential “weapon.”

The child’s mother, Theresa Stevens, states that Shawn, who is autistic, brought the flag to school to show friends. He had received it as a gift from a family friend whose son is in Afghanistan. To her dismay, she received a phone call that morning telling her “this flag needs to be immediately removed from school because it can be considered a weapon.”

The school’s Co-Principal Kimberly Lyndes told the Fosters Daily Democrat that the problem wasn’t patriotism but safety, adding:

A student came to school yesterday with a flag that was rather large and didn’t fit inside the backpack. A staff member felt that it could potentially be dangerous because of the pointy end and took the item and let the student know and the parent know that they took the item and could pick it up.

But as Teresa Stevens correctly notes, students routinely carry sharp-tipped items, such as compasses and pencils, to school. When she argued that these standard school supplies could also be classified as “possible weapons,” Stevens claims she was told, “Well, we don’t let [students] wave them around in class, and your son has autism.”

Related Articles

Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at or by posting a comment below.

Recently in the Green Room:


Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.


Trackback URL


Dripping red meat for a Friday lol

WitchDoctor on September 16, 2011 at 1:27 PM

I give it one week until the school issues a non-apology apology.

OhioCoastie on September 16, 2011 at 1:45 PM

The sad thing is, I’m not even shocked by these stories anymore. It’s just par for the course.

rbj on September 16, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Do these kids have pencils? They have a sharp points on them also. It seems that the ‘flag’ was the issue, not the ‘sharp point’? Poor child, having to deal with this krap and he probably has no idea why. Acutally, I don’t know why this krap is happening either!

letget on September 16, 2011 at 2:29 PM

So… teachers union members are being cross-trained by TSA to search for weapons? Do these people have any idea that 90% of what’s in a kids’ backpack could, in theory, be used as a “weapon?” What’s next… pat-downs of 12 year-olds coming to school?

Profiling! Is the child predisposed to violent behavior?Does the child have a history of fighting? Does their passport indicate trips to Afghanistan, Iran, or Yemen?

VastRightWingConspirator on September 16, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Talks about an attack-flag. A flag-shiv. A veritable max-security-prison’s worth of homemade weaponry gone amok.

I’m surprised these criminal parents weren’t hauled up on charges for negligently placing a lethal weapon in the hands of a disabled minor. Next thing you know they’ll be letting him use a toothbrush.

J.E. Dyer on September 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Stevens claims she was told, “Well, we don’t let [students] wave them around in class, and your son has autism.”

Sounds like discrimination. Anyhoo, about par for East & West Coast libs – anti-flag. Wonder if Mochelle is also anti-flag, ya think?

AH_C on September 16, 2011 at 3:46 PM

I’m surprised these criminal parents weren’t hauled up on charges for negligently placing a lethal weapon in the hands of a disabled minor.

Don’t give them any ideas, J.E.

Howard Portnoy on September 16, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Ironic that this happened in New Hampshire where the people are so fiercely independent that their motto is “Live Free or Die”.

mdenis39 on September 16, 2011 at 10:04 PM