Some parents in a southern Oregon town are protesting plans of the local school district to erect a flagpole and U.S. flag outside a taxpayer-supported learning center, reports the Ashland Daily Tidings.
“I feel very strongly that there should not be a flagpole and there should not be a flag,” Tracy Bungay told the paper.
“I feel our country is on a strong push towards imperialism, and we’re not a democratic nation anymore. I want to raise my children to be citizens of the world, and the flag does not represent ideals I want to instill in my children. It represents dominance, greed, corporate power and not freedom. I think it even represents commercialism and consumerism.”
The Willow Wind Community Learning Center is a government-funded facility that supports homeschoolers who live in the district but do not attend public schools.
The Ashland School District decided it would erect the flag and flagpole this fall after 13-year-old Jesse Stanton asked that Old Glory fly outside the learning center, the Ashland paper said.
According to the report, the teen first contacted the facility’s director, Debi Pew, about putting up the flag.
“She (Pew) told me when I first asked her that it would be offensive to some students and it couldn’t happen,” Stanton told the paper. “It was disappointing, but I wasn’t completely surprised because I know there are a good deal of people there who don’t look at the flag or America favorably.”
Stanton says he is “one of the only ones who speaks out on my views that support patriotism and pro-Americanism,” said the report.
While Oregon law requires that both a U.S. flag and state flag fly at every “public school building,” it was unclear to district officials whether or not the learning center – technically not a “school” – fell under the requirement. According to the report, officials decided the building, since it was supported by district funds, was subject to the regulation.
Some anti-flag parents felt the issue should have come up for a vote of affected families.
“I think everyone in our community at Willow Wind should have a say in this,” Julie Bedford told the Daily Tidings. “One person does not have the right to go above everyone’s heads. It’s completely the opposite of democracy.”
Stanton’s mother told the paper she was convinced if the issue did go before the parents, the flag would be rejected.
“We are the minority at the community learning center,” Anne Stanton said, according to the report. “We are going to get the flag there because it’s public law, but if we just had to work with [the Community Learning Center] it would probably be vetoed because we’re the minority.”
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