A Vilonia High School student was pulled out of class Tuesday and asked to remove the American flags on his truck, prompting discourse within the small town.
Father of the student, Jeromy Crowder, told the Log Cabin Democrat on Wednesday, that his son had just purchased the flags — that clip to a vehicle’s window and stay in place when rolled up — a few days prior and had no issues when at school Monday.
Crowder said his son called him immediately and told him what had occurred, prompting him to call the high school principal right away and ask why.
He said the principal gave him the same answer he had given his son … that if they allowed one student to fly their desired flag, they had to allow all flags on campus.
The principal, Crowder said, also acknowledged that nowhere in the handbook was it written that flags weren’t allowed but the rule was only implemented about a year ago.
Superintendent David Stephens confirmed the rule and said the district put it in place after students displayed their Confederate flags creating discourse and disruption at the school.
“In my heart, there’s no reason in our country that the American flag can’t be displayed anywhere they want to display it,” Crowder said.
The Vilonia resident took to Facebook to share the situation and his opinion, videos that have garnered widespread attention; Sen. Jason Rapert shared Crowder’s video and that post had more than 21,000 views at 3:01 p.m. Wednesday.
Regarding the new rule, Crowder said he was upset and questioned the principal asking if they just make up rules as they go; the principal said not all rules are in black and white and have to be looked at as they go.
Crowder said he understood the need for some sort of regulation if issues stemmed from all flags being allowed, but other flags from other countries or “hate flags” are different than the American flag.
“I think any red-blooded American feels the same way,” he said.
Superintendent Stephens said the district hasn't had any issues since they said no more flags altogether but this instance, “people were justifiably,” upset about the situation with the VHS student Tuesday and posted on the district's Facebook page to talk about the occurrence.
“It is never our intention to prevent demonstrations of respect for our nation's flag,” the post reads. “We proudly display our flag on campus and in classrooms and students and staff recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day.”
Stephens said the district reviewed the rule Wednesday morning and decided to allow students to display the American flag and the Arkansas state flag only on their vehicles.
“So, that’s where we landed today,” he said.
Crowder said when he heard that news he was happy and commended the district for acting.
“I think it’s the right decision,” he said.
One thing that he wanted to make clear, Crowder said, was that in no means is he calling for the firing or dismissal of the principal and has no plans, currently, to bring any lawsuits against the district and the school they love but was solely after the right to display the flag.
“We won today and I don’t mean me,” he said. “I mean our district and our country.”