When pictures of a US flag on display Tuesday on the library floor at York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, started circulating on social media, it caused quite the scandal, writes Robert Sanchez in the Daily Herald.
The display, which was a partial re-creation of a 1989 work by artist Dread Scott, was part of a daylong interdisciplinary forum for sophomore students about First Amendment rights. The forum included five real-life cases for students to consider, including this one.
Scott’s original work was entitled “What is the proper way to display a U.S. Flag?” People were invited to walk on the flag, but York’s re-creation put up a chain barrier around the flag so people wouldn’t walk on it.
“This is in no way meant to disrespect the flag, the military, or the government; rather, it was used for students to reconcile their feelings about current issues and whether their First Amendment rights are protected,” the paper quoted Principal Erin DeLuga as writing in a letter to parents.
Of course, students took pictures of the display and posted it to their social media accounts, which generally produced a viral response, with commentators from the larger community calling the lesson disrespectful, disgusting, and no end of other scandalous adjectives.
“I think there are better ways to get the point across about our First Amendment rights,” commented one woman from Villa Park, whose husband is a Marine veteran.
The response, which included a number of emails from the community and at least a few students who were “visibly upset” by the display, certainly caught York officials off-guard. They won’t repeat the display, and the flag itself was properly retired by the American Legion a day after the display.
“There was never any intention to upset people or be disrespectful,” the paper quoted a District 205 administrator as saying. “I think they were taken by surprise with the reaction.”