by Mary Rose Corkery
An Ohio county commissioner asked a superintendent on Tuesday to step down for banning thin blue line flags from “pre-game activities,” according to letters obtained by a local NBC affiliate.
Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri criticized Superintendent Michael Hanlon Jr.’s announcement that thin blue line flags would be prohibited from school activities after members of the Chardon football team carried one onto the field before a Friday game, 3WKYC Studios reported.
“Based on discussions that ensued over the weekend, it does not appear that this action was motivated by racism, rather a show of support for one of our coaches who serves as a police officer, as well as for the first responders in our community who have developed a special relationship with our school and students,” Hanlon said in a letter to the community.
“Nevertheless, it is understandable how this could be interpreted as a racially-motivated action and, therefore, not acceptable in a school community,” he added. Thin blue line flags are associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement.
The school district’s policy does not allow political speech by staff members, Hanlon said in his letter. A teacher in the district was also told to remove a Black Lives Matter backdrop from a virtual classroom, according to a statement Hanlon provided to the local outlet.
Spidalieri said in his letter to the superintendent that the football players who originally displayed the flag were courageous for doing so, 3WKYC Studios reported.
“By honoring our first responders these young men expressed gratitude, care and love for our community and our county. Your letter sickens me and so many others that have reached out to me and expressed the same disgust with your inability to stand up and recognize their patriotism,” Spidalieri said in his letter.
The Chardon Local School District Board of Education and Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Mary Rose Corkery is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.