Saugus football team to stop carrying ‘thin blue line’ flag

The Saugus High School football team will no longer use the “thin blue line” flag at their pregame ceremonies following a decision by the team coach, Union High School District superintendent William S. Hart said.

The flag, a black and white flag of the United States with a horizontal blue line, has become a controversial symbol. Some use it to declare their support for law enforcement, while white nationalists and other extremist groups have adopted the flag for their own movements.

In a letter to the school community, Supt. Mike Kuhlman said use of the flag had become controversial.

“Just three days ago, I became aware of my concern about this symbol being flown at Saugus High School football games,” Kuhlman wrote in Wednesday’s letter. “Despite emails of immediate action and threats of consequences if certain steps are not taken within a specified timeframe, we decided to take the time to fully understand the issue and respond diligently.”

The school’s principal, Geni Peterson Henry, reportedly met with football coach Jason Bornn, who said he was “not even fully aware of the banners in question,” although he noted the team had never voted on a flag.

“…(Bornn) got the idea that it’s possible that some players on the team might not be entirely enthusiastic about an icon being used to represent the entire team,” Kuhlman wrote.

Bornn decided to stop using the flag “out of respect for his commitment to inclusivity, kindness and respect…”.

“Please note that this decision does not result in a change in support for law enforcement,” Kuhlman wrote. “The enthusiasm behind our district’s support of law enforcement is not measured by acceptance or rejection of any particular symbol.”

The county is exploring alternative methods to show support for law enforcement, Kuhlman wrote.

The move was not well received by some.

“This is unacceptable behavior in any of our schools, let alone Saugus,” said a speaker at a school district committee meeting on Wednesday. “He represents the team. Yes, it represents the students, the parents, the residents.”

“I am dismayed and upset,” said a speaker posing as a 28-year-old LAPD veteran. “It’s a job I’m really proud of.”

“Personally, I believe this is a slap in the face to those who ran into danger at Saugus High School,” said district board president Joe Messina.

In 2019, Saugus High School was the scene of a shooting that killed two students. The shooter, who also attended high school, shot himself in the attack.

Some speakers called for the flag to be phased out and alternatives to be explored.

“I think there are a thousand other ways that we can show our support for our heroes,” said a Saugus Public Schools parent. “Unfortunately, [the flag] was taken over by racist elements in this country and it is now tainted.”

“As a member of the African American community, the popularity of the Blue Lives Matter flag has surged following the surge in Black Lives Matter protests in 2020,” said a speaker posing as a student at Golden Valley High School. near Canyon Country. “A lot of people may be confused that the popularity came about despite the Black Lives Matter protests.”

The speaker advocated interviewing football players to gain their perspectives.

“If they’re just trying to promote and show their gratitude for law enforcement, that’s great,” the spokesman said. “If their goal is something else, then I see a problem with that.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-30/saugus-football-team-to-stop-carrying-thin-blue-line-flag Saugus football team to stop carrying ‘thin blue line’ flag

Alley Einstein

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