At least two Ohio high school football players have been suspended for carrying flags honoring police and fallen firefighters ahead of a recent game.
What are the details?
According to WKRC-TV, Little Miami High School in Morrow, Ohio, opted to suspend Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley after they expressed their support for first responders before a Sept. 11 football game.
Brady, a senior cornerback whose father is a police officer, said that he was not trying to make a political statement at all in carrying the Thin Blue Line flag.
“I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago,” he said.
Jarad — whose father is a firefighter — carried the Thin Red Line flag and told WKRC that he was thinking about his father at the time.
“I was all for it,” he said. “Because my dad is a firefighter, and if it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”
The station reports that Brady and Jarad requested permission from the school ahead of time, but were reportedly denied.
Brady said that he felt it was more important to honor the memories of first responders on 9/11 than it was to worry about suffering any possible consequences.
“Listen, I don’t care what my consequences are,” he told the station. “So long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”
The two discovered their fate on Monday: an indefinite suspension.
You can watch a video report on the incident here.
Divisive political symbols
Superintendent Gregory Power told the station that he was sticking firmly to the decision.
“We can’t have students who decide to do something anyway after they’ve been told that they shouldn’t be doing it,” Power said, arguing that the apparently divisive flags were symbols of political controversy.
“We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” Power reasoned.
In a generic statement, the district added, “Little Miami Local Schools is saddened to see this story take such a negative turn. While we understand these students’ desire show their support of our first responders, they did not obtain permission from district officials. Administrators must act when students break the rules.”
“Little Miami always has — and always will — support our first responders, our veterans, and all who sacrifice to maintain our freedoms,” the statement promised.
*story by The Blaze