Public reacts to Fort Collins school flag incident

Photo from Greeley Report blog's photo from unidentified source

Someone hung an American flag in a Fort Collins, Colo., elementary school, someone took a picture showing the Saudi Arabian flag hanging higher than the American flag, and someone posted it on an anonymous blog,

Now it seems a lot of people are angry, shocked, and outraged about it. They’ve flocked to the website of the Greeley Gazette (described dismissively as an “upstart paper” by the Denver Post), the first news outlet to report the story. They’ve bombarded the school with emails. Fox News Radio reportedly picked up the story and no doubt they were apoplectic. The school’s principal, Brian Carpenter, said, “It’s offensive to our veterans, it’s offensive to our country and it’s offensive to us.”

Bauder Elementary School is an international school and displays the flags of many nations to honor its students, Carpenter explained.

As usual, a lot of people are grossly overreacting to what seems clearly to be either a prank or an oversight. A flag was moved and a photo taken. The flag has been returned to its original location. End of story.

Principal Carpenter and Bauder School flag display
Principal Carpenter and Bauder School flag display. Screenshot from Denver's 9 News; click for video

I do not think the incident is offensive three times over, as declared by the principal. I do not think the principal is culpable for not noticing the flag’s position for several days, as declared by Gazette writer Jack Minor. I do not think the sky will fall because someone misplaced an American flag and someone else (or maybe the same person) took a picture of it. I’m not even sure that placing the American flag in an empty wall bracket was anything more than … placing a flag in a bracket. Conspiracy theorists might even think this whole thing was a stunt by and/or the Greeley Gazette to generate a little publicity for themselves.

What I do think is that the importance of this incident is miniscule compared to the hate, paranoia, and ignorance it seems to have elicited. That, not some photo from an anonymous blog, is what should concern us all.

4 thoughts on “Public reacts to Fort Collins school flag incident

  1. Every few years we have something like that happen here — like a school will stop playing Oh Canada in the morning and a few dozen people will riot in their living rooms and send off a few letters or whatever.

    Or the board of a private Catholic school will find out their music teacher is gay, and ask her to not show up anymore.

    But I don’t think the reaction to something like a breach in flag protocol would have the same reaction here as it did in the US, mostly because we don’t have nearly the same level of organized intolerance here, but also because we don’t place the same intensity on our national symbols.

    We’ve only had a flag of our own since 1967, but at no time in our history has burning our flag been illegal. Standard protocol is to have the Maple Leaf flying higher than the other flags in the room, but just in my region alone I can see Swiss flags, German flags and even the US flag flying on a pole without, or over the Maple Leaf.

    I think the most upset Canadians have ever been regarding the treatment of our flag, was during the 1992 Toronto v. Atlanta World Series, when the Marine honour guard walked onto the field carrying the Canadian flag upside down.

    But even then most Canadians were willing to forgive the error almost immediately, it was the MLB people, the network and the Marine’s who were horrified and tripping over themselves to apologize. I think George HW Bush even called our PM.

... and that's my two cents