Wrote October 17, 2023 10:00am Posted October 24, 2023. 5:00am
“Mr. Everts, for Pride Month, would you fly the pride flag in the band room?” asked one of my students.
I wrote about this topic being purposely embarrassing a person in front of others. A minor “struggle session.” The Freedom to Say No
My answer was, “No. And thanks to our son (Lieutenant) being in the Navy, you can ask that question and I can say ‘no.’ I hope I will always have the freedom to say ‘no’ and you will always have the freedom to ask the question.”
Just the other day, I mentioned this conversation to a friend who is a band director who responded, “We will disagree on this issue. I have a pride flag in my band room.” And sadly, that may be the last time I hear from her.
In public (“government”) classrooms, I support displaying the American flag and the state flag.
“Well, what happens when there are students who do not believe that flag represents them?”
There is an irony to that question. That USA flag represents the freedom for that student / person to choose for the flag not to represent him / her. Correct?
In a sense, the flag represents our constitution, which gives us freedoms that the majority – THE MAJORITY – of the world does not enjoy.
We are now seeing a terrible war in Israel.
Not one Jewish friend has asked me, “Paul, we know you support Jewish people. Here is an Israeli flag. Will you please display it in your classroom?”
My answer to my Jewish friend would be same to the student who asked to display the Pride flag: NO.
Here is the issue with displaying the pride flag or any flag in the public school classroom.
What is the purpose of a flag?
Flags originally were used mainly in warfare, and to some extent they have remained insignia of leadership serving or the identification of friend or foe and as rallying points. They are now also extensively employed for signaling, for decoration, and for display. Flag – Britannica
When a school (in my case, being a teacher) chooses to display a flag for a cause, the unintended consequence is displaying that flag marginalized all the other groups who that flag does not represent. Display a Christian flag – what about all the non-Christians? Pride flag – what about all the non-LGBTQ? BLM flag – what about all the people who believe BLM is anti-Jewish? Police flag – what about all the people negatively impacted by police (which is not me…I LOVE THE POLICE! GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT!)
As much as I would love to have a flag supporting police, firemen, other first responders, my ‘no’ goes for those flags as well with the understanding, my ‘no’ to those flags does not mean I don’t support first responders.
My ‘no’ is because, again, the only flags displayed in the public school classroom are the state and USA flags.
Also, my ‘no’ is because in a public (“government”) school, I do not want to single-out a group.
You will see others manipulate you to be ‘anti-Paul’ because he (‘Paul’) will not support a group because he will not display their flag.
WHAT A MEAN SPIRIT YOU HAVE!
I love people first! I will do all I can to love people first and then give them a chance to prove my love for them was wasted!
Just because I don’t fly “your” flag doesn’t mean I don’t support you.
Time to find rational thinking again. Stop it with the emotional thinking!
Think twice before you display a flag. Your flag is to draw attention to you and response to you. I know. On September 28, 2023, while carrying my USA flag, a white BMW attempted to run me over. That wasn’t my goal for my morning walk that day. I believe it was his goal that morning.
God bless all of us as we continue to work our way through the chaos.