Countless instances during a variety of protests, riots and acts of vandalism over the past few years have made it abundantly clear that a portion of the younger generations of Americans seriously lack the same level of honor and respect for the American flag as a majority of older generations maintain.
This was quite evident following a senior prank at a high school in Georgia which involved the defacement of an American flag. The prank raised the ire of some in the community, according to Fox News.
A handful of seniors at the Heard County High School had spray-painted “Seniors 2K18!” on a large U.S. flag and hung it over the entrance where all students and faculty would see it.
Needless to say, plenty of people were irate when images of the defaced flag were shared by the local news. Yet, despite the school’s principal noting the prank had “crossed the line” and his initial inclination to punish the students for their actions, he decided instead to use the incident as a “teachable moment.”
According to WXIA, a statement from Principal Brent Tisdale read, in part, “It has been the practice at HCHS for Seniors to participate in SR Pranks and as long as there is no vandalism or damage to property we usually handle it with a grain of salt, have them clean it up, and move on.”
However, this latest prank “clearly crossed the line by using the American Flag in the prank. Our students did not intend to be disrespectful or insult the flag or our country, but that is indeed what happened.”
“We share the same emotion and passion that our community does for the American flag. We have identified the students and consequences have been assigned,” Tisdale’s statement continued.
According to WAGA, Tisdale said he had initially planned to suspend the boys for five days and prohibit them from attending prom, but changed his mind after speaking with them.
He realized the five senior students responsible for the prank didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of what they had done and lacked an understanding of how important the flag is to many people, especially military veterans.
Thus, he called the local police chief and asked if he had any veterans available to come and speak with the boys.
“We had a couple of firefighters, police and took the boys into an empty room and let the vets explain to them what the flag means to them,” Tisdale said.
One of those veterans was Nikki Culpepper, who showed the boys a picture of Arlington National Cemetery where her grandfather was buried.
“We talked about how we chose to voluntarily defend the flag and their right to do what they did to it, as well as family and friends and loved ones who come home underneath that flag,” she told WAGA.
Culpepper said the boys appeared to be remorseful for their actions. “Two of the young people had tears in their eyes, shook our hands and apologized,” she said
Tisdale believes the five boys definitely got the message. “They understand what they did was wrong. The intent was not to be disrespectful, but they understand how it was perceived that way,” he said.
While Tisdale could have easily punished the students for their dishonorable actions with regard to the flag, he instead took time with local veterans to educate the students about why what they did was considered wrong, and hopefully instilled a deeper sense of honor and patriotism in the boys than had existed before the incident.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.