Calif. parents, students protest removal of thin blue line flag from football field by school board
Parents and students wore shirts featuring a “Thin Blue Line” flag, with the words “THE BLUE HAD OUR BACKS NOW WE BACK YOURS!!”
By Ashley Silver
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — Parents at a local California high school staged a protest to voice their discontent of their school board’s decision to stop the Saugus football team from taking a thin blue line flag onto the field during games.
Los Angeles Daily News reported several parents, students and supporters wore T-shirts featuring the “Thin Blue Line” American flag on the back, with the words “THE BLUE HAD OUR BACKS NOW WE BACK YOURS!!” during a game.
Parents are particularly upset because in 2019 a first responder had to rescue children at the same high school during an active shooter situation.
Images from tonight’s Saugus and Hart football game. Saugus parents and supporters wearing ‘Thin Blue Line’ t-shirts. Student section hanging the flag in the stands. This all in response to the team being told it can no longer run onto the field with the ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag. pic.twitter.com/EVirXseu79— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) October 8, 2022
“It’s unfortunate,” Todd Cataldi, a retired police officer and father of Saugus football team player, told LA Daily News. “These kids went through a lot when they were freshmen with the school shooting, and there are several kids on the team whose parents work in law enforcement and are first responders and want to show their support for them.”
On the opposite side of the issue, one community member took to social media to detail why they believe the school playing field is not an appropriate place for the thin blue line imagery.
“There is absolutely no reason for this image to be carried out onto the field by players or used on cheer blocks,” local resident Duncan Mandel wrote on Facebook. “Get loud. What message are we sending to our kids if we sit back and allow this divisiveness to continue. Do something! This is simply not a First Amendment issue.”
The William S. Hart Unified School District superintendent Mike Kuhlman released a statement saying the district only wants to support inclusion and a safe place for all parties involved.
“Here are two statements that are true about the Hart District: 1) We support law enforcement and deeply appreciate their work to keep our community safe. 2) We foster a culture of inclusivity, kindness and respect,” Kuhlman wrote in his statement. “The controversy has generated strong feelings on all sides of this issue. Many of the loudest voices appear to be suggesting that we must choose to support one or the other of these two statements – as if they are on opposite sides of a political spectrum. I’d like to suggest that it is possible for our community to actively support both statements listed above.”