If administrators at York Comprehensive High School in South Carolina wanted a controversy, they got what they desired on Wednesday. After noticing that one of their students, 18-year-old Peyton Robinson, had an American flag displayed on the bed of his truck, a school official told him that he needed to remove it.
“He was like, ‘We’re having people say stuff about your flag and I just wanted to ask you to take it down,'” said Robinson about the initial encounter. The unidentified administrator walked Robinson out to his truck, but the flag had already been removed by the time they arrived in the parking lot. “It just kind of upset me and aggravated me,” Robinson told a local news station.
By the end of the school day, officials at York had come up with a non-controversial excuse for the removal of the flag. According to them, the flag was a “safety concern” that might block the vision of other drivers. That wasn’t good enough for Robinson’s supporters, many of whom drove to the school Wednesday night to protest the decision. By the time Thursday morning rolled around, more than 70 cars were driving in front of the school and into the parking lot, all of them waving American flags in solidarity.
“I’ll keep fighting,” said Robinson. “I’m not letting it go. I won’t go down without a fight.”
Faced with a mounting public relations disaster, school officials released a statement allowing the American flag as long as it did not “create a driving hazard.”
It’s the latest in what has become a bad year for the American flag. Social media “challenges” have encouraged Black Lives Matter protestors to stomp the flag whenever they get the chance, a college in California wanted to remove the flag for fear that it might make students from other countries feel uncomfortable, and an ex-Marine in Georgia was arrested when she stole a flag from protestors who were walking all over it.
Perhaps the situation in South Carolina was all a big misunderstanding, but the way Robinson describes the initial confrontation, the thing about the flag being a “driving hazard” feels like an empty backtrack. The administrator didn’t tell him that it was a safety issue; he said that they’d had complaints. Either they didn’t expound on the nature of those complaints or Robinson didn’t, but one can guess that they were politically-minded.
The outpouring of support from the community proves that there is still a backbone of patriotism in this country, but history has shown that these anti-American movements grow stronger with time. With students being taught every day that the history of this country is riddled with racism, genocide, and evil, one can only wonder where the next generation of patriots will come from.