School officials encouraged to speak out

Aaliyah Solano, Editor-In-Chief

As a basic foundation of the United States Constitution, the first amendment guarantees religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition. Using their freedom of expression, students have recently expressed themselves in ways that have made school officials uncomfortable.
Within this building, there have been two incidents involving flags. Several white male and female students posed together with a Blue Lives Matter flag on school grounds. Although Blue Lives Matter is a movement that supports police officers’ safety, these flags were primarily displayed in contrast with the Black Lives Matter movement during the George Floyd incident last May.
Supporters of the flag used it to ask for innocent officers all over the world not to be attacked and killed during this uproar, although some members misused the flag’s message by using it in support of the officers who murdered Floyd. Therefore, some students feel it portrays a racial message.
Contrary to what is being said on social media, the students involved were punished on that same day.
Another incident involved a female student of Latin descent wearing a Mexican flag. After refusing to remove the flag, the student was punished. It has been stated on social media that she was punished for creating a distraction in the building; however, according to vice principal Matt Ambrose, it was because of her refusal.
When it comes to the Hispanic student, representing her culture wasn’t the problem, it was the possible physical or verbal arguments that could have been caused. Especially since there have been past incidents that have gotten physical.
Students are always encouraged to represent their culture, or anything about themselves that makes them unique. Students can wear clothing to represent themselves, but flags, however, are not clothing. Flags are known for being in the air not used to make disheartening messages at 7am before a school day or be draped around a person’s whole body.
There is no doubt that school officials feel uncomfortable when racial issues come up. Even when the school tries to act as if our building doesn’t discriminate against minority students, they know what we already know: minority students have always been treated differently than white students in society. However the school does try their hardest to make everyone feel included, no matter what race or gender a person is.
On platforms like Twitter and Snapchat, many have claimed that the Hispanic girl was punished for representing her race. Especially with the narrative that the white students were not punished immediately but the Hispanic student was.
The primary issue is the racism and prejudice still current in this country, not the flags. We’ve seen all year and especially last year that white people get away with and can do more things than minorities can.
There’s been constant videos of African Americans and white Americans committing the same crime, but there are almost always two different outcomes. The African Americans are usually the ones being shot, while the white Americans live to see their court date.
It’s sad that even in this building such ignorance still resides, especially when some staff and students try to make this building as diverse and inclusive as can be.
This year, the building has been doing a good job of indirectly addressing incidents within the school. But hey! At least they’re speaking about it. In the past there have been many incidents in this building that school officials remained silent on; however, officials should be even more vocal. They should speak out upon incidents involving our building especially in the era of social media where everything can be misconstrued with false information.
Being silent doesn’t demonstrate a positive message to the public or to those within the building.