At a time when our communities are seeing some of the most dangerous threats in American history, with riots, protests, and catastrophic violence in the streets, never before has our appreciation for those who defend our neighborhoods and businesses been more critical.
However, it would seem that some community leaders are more worried about offending someone and being politically correct than actually keeping their streets safe.
Take the northern Ohio community of Chardon, for example.
While the community certainly hasn’t seen the mayhem and uncontrollable rioting of places like Portland or Chicago, it isn’t exactly a stranger to violence and death.
If you recognize the town name at all, it’s likely because its local high school was the scene of a gruesome school shooting in 2012 that ended three student’s lives, according to WKYC.
With such tragedy in their past, the school and many students, faculty members, and parents have no small amount of appreciation for law enforcement officers that work hard to make sure another such incident doesn’t happen. In fact, one of the coaches on the high school football serves as a police officer.
That appreciation was put on full display on Friday during a high school football game. When the Chardon Hilltoppers ran out onto the field, one student carried with him a “thin blue line” American flag.
Over the past few months, the flag has become a symbol of support for law enforcement everywhere, acknowledging that without these few brave souls in uniform, our nation would find itself drowning in utter chaos, much as we see in places where police departments have been defunded.
However, apparently some in the community (AKA the Karens) were offended by the flag, because, you know, police are the real problem with our communities. And so community leaders, including Chardon’s school district superintendent Michael Hanlon, received complaints about the instance.
But rather than taking these complaints with a grain of salt, or not reading them at all, Hanlon went full cancel culture. He banned the flag from any and all school functions from here on out.
He wrote in a letter describing his decision to students and their parents, that the flag was likely a “show of support for one of our coaches who serves as a police officer, as well as for the first responders in our community who have developed a special relationship with our school and students in the wake of our school tragedy of February 27, 2012.”
However, to some, it could be seen as not only a “political activity,” but a “racially-motivated action and, therefore, not acceptable in a school community.”
Hanlon wrote, “School district policy does not permit engagement in political activity. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that we clearly understand how this action could be perceived as political in nature. As a result, this display will not be part of future pre-game activities at Chardon athletic contests.”
“In addition,” Hanlon noted, that the school’s Athletic Director was to, from here on out, be made aware of any “planned pre-game displays” and judge them to make sure “possible connections to any form of discrimination or particular political views” cannot be found.
Now, I completely understand that, as superintendent, Hanlon has a unique responsibility to enforce rules and make sure all students, as well as fellow community members, are treated equally and not discriminated against. I also get that he needs to keep his schools in good standing with the community for such purposes as funding, etc.
But this is going a bit too far, I’d say. His letter states explicitly that this incident was “perceived” to be racially charged and “perceived” to be political by particular people in the community, likely the same people that tattle on kids’ reading their Bible in study hall.
It wasn’t ‘found’ or ‘proved’ to be racial or political. In fact, if anything, it was proved to be a show of support for a beloved coach.
But, apparently, perception is everything. And unfortunately, these kids are paying the price. They may have won the football game, but they lost in the long run. Rather than being allowed to judge what they want to support or not, they are told what to think, feel, and say.
So much for American independence and ingenuity.