A teacher in Washington state was ordered to remove a "Thin Blue Line" pro-police flag in her classroom over claims it is a "political symbol," while messages supporting Black Lives Matter and LGBT Pride flags are allowed in the school.
"They told her that it's controversial to have that flag up. That it makes kids and staff feel unsafe, which to me, that does not make sense at all," the teacher’s brother, Chris Sutherland, told "The Jason Rantz Show" on 770 KTTH conservative talk-radio.
Sutherland is a former police officer with the Marysville Police Department in Washington, and his sister had hung the "Thin Blue Line" flag to support him in her classroom at Marysville Middle School. The flag was also surrounded by photos of her brother.
The teacher first placed a "Thin Blue Line" sticker on her laptop to honor her brother and other law enforcement officers. At the time, an assistant principal objected to the sticker.
According to an HR document on the incident, she alerted the teacher to "concerns about how students, families, and community members might interpret what the image is intending to communicate, and that this interpretation may cause a disruption to the learning environment." Objections were dropped, and the teacher later raised the flag in her classroom.
The "Thin Blue Line" flag, which resembles an American flag but has a blue stripe, is a sign of support for law enforcement but has also come to signal opposition to the racial justice movement and is seen as a symbol of white supremacy or support for the Blue Lives Matter cause, NBC News reported.
Last year, the Black Lives Matter movement swept across the country after the killing of George Floyd in police custody. In the school, messages supporting BLM are allowed, according to Sutherland.
The teacher also displayed a Pride flag in her classroom to support a gay relative, Rantz reported. Rantz said the district refused to explain why BLM and pride flags were allowed, but not pro-police flags.
The teacher was ordered to remove the flag or "face disciplinary action." She removed the "Thin Blue Line" flag from her classroom, but said in a message to HR that the ordeal "has been the most traumatic and hostile" situation she’s experienced at the school.
Sutherland added that his sister will continue her fight to get the flag back up in her classroom without fear of repercussions.
There have been other incidents nationwide involving teachers and flags.
A teacher in the Portland area removed an American flag from a classroom because it "stands for violence and menace and intolerance, and I will not fly that in my room," Fox News reported.
And a California teacher, Kristin Pitzen, was removed from teaching in her classroom while under investigation into a viral TikTok video where she joked about telling a student to pledge allegiance to a LGBT Pride flag rather than to the American flag, USA Today reported.
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