Rep. Sapareto is sponsoring HB 1311, a measure that would make it illegal for schools to prohibit students from wearing or displaying American flags, provided the students aren’t being intentionally disrespectful.
The legislation would apply to both public and private schools.
Controversy over wearing the flag
Last year, Londonderry High School faced backlash when it banned student athletes from wearing or even waving the American flag at a school pep rally. School officials were forced to clarify their intention, stating:
“At previous rallies, some students have included (the flag) as part of an outfit allowing the flag to drag on the ground,” said superintendent of schools Scott Laliberte. He explained that the rule was “simply meant to avoid repeating any inadvertent disrespect of our nation’s flag.”
The school revised the rule to say that students could use the flag so long as it is presented according to the American Legion Flag Code. This code states, in part: “the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.”
Protecting pride or avoiding disrespect?
Proponents of this legislation argue that schools should never prohibit students from expressing a love of country. As long as young people are being respectful, they should be allowed to display the nation’s banner with pride.
Opponents argue that it is never appropriate to “wear” the American flag. Therefore, a law enshrining students’ right to do so is inherently disrespectful to our national banner. They feel school administrators should be given the final say in such disciplinary matters.
What do you think? Do you support legislation that would protect NH students’ right to wear or otherwise display the American flag at school, provided it is not done in a disrespectful manner? Let us know what you think – yes or no, and why – in the comments below.