It wasn’t long ago that schools across the South found themselves facing off against their own students, who refused to comply with rules banning all images of the Confederate flag.
At the same time, other schools came under fire for seeming to ban all flags from their grounds, including the POW/MIA and even the Stars and Stripes.
Now, FOX Carolina reports that a similar controversy is brewing in South Carolina after a number of complaints emerged that students were being denied entry to their high school football game — all because they were attempting to bring American flags inside the stadium.
In one such post from Saturday, Hunter Ballew writes:
“Lou Lavely, Travelers Rest High School Principal, continues to power trip and strip young Americans the right to proudly boast this Nation’s flag.
Last night I picked my brother up from the [Traveler’s Rest High School] Football game and he told me that Lavely had denied entry to a couple of young men with Americans flag. I can’t deny the rage I felt as this is the third incident I’ve had involving Lavely and the flag I love…
I’m no expert and don’t know the laws in and out. But.. if he has the power to strip Americans the right to boast the American flag after being pumped up about our Olympic run there is a much bigger problem. A problem that need to be resolved.
I’m sick of this political correctness. We need to do something about it because it’s not getting any better.”
Along with the post, Ballew — who told Independent Journal Review that he was in the Marine Corps and served as a firefighter in his hometown — included a picture that shows a flag-carrier being denied entry to the game.
With the news spreading across social media and capturing media headlines, school officials have been quick to defend themselves:
To clear up misinformation that is being spread on social media; no students at Travelers Rest High were turned away…
In an official statement, Travelers Rest High School Principal Lou Lavely said that his decision was “made in the best interests of all attending the game,” adding, in part:
“Any decision to not allow the American flag to be used in an improper ‘taunting’, unsportsmanlike manner is first and foremost in the interests of promoting the safety and well-being of all in attendance at school events…”
According to Lavely, “the flag has been used in the past to taunt Berea students and community that has led to confrontation.” Berea, a neighboring high school, reportedly has a significant number of Hispanic students.
It should be noted that Berea Principal Mike Noel has said that Lavely “made the right decision” — though, clearly, not everyone agrees:
My statement concerning the American flag at the TRHS football game
Posted by Alivia Waynick on Sunday, August 28, 2016
Travelers Rest High School student Alivia Waynick — who says that she was turned away from the game that night for trying to bring in a flag — posted her own video to Facebook.
In it, she explains that, while the flag may have been used for unsportsmanlike purposes in past years, that was not the case at Friday’s game. She adds that she wishes she had simply been given a chance to explain herself before being turned away.
It’s a viewpoint that Ballew entirely agrees with, telling Independent Journal Review that “if kids want to bring [the American flag], they should be able to…if they are doing things inappropriately, then kick them out.”