The William S. Hart Union High School District is slated Wednesday evening to discuss new board policy related to displaying of flags after being presented with issues involving the flying of flags — specifically the “Thin Blue Line” flag last year.
The new board policy, 6145.82, would provide guidelines for the displaying of flags, banners or other insignia when these items may be interpreted to represent a position of the district or governing board. According to the agenda, the American flag and state flag are encouraged at district-sponsored events, and preapproved symbols associated with school spirit would also be allowed.
However, occasionally, exception to this flag and banner policy may be made for special circumstances, but these exceptions will be approved in writing by site administration and/or the superintendent.
In December, the governing board adopted revised board policy and administrative regulation regarding flags flown on school and district flagpoles. This new board policy, 6145.82, addresses flags and banners being displayed by teams or other school groups.
The controversy regarding the flying of flags began in late-September when the Saugus High School football team carried out the Thin Blue Line flag when taking the field for their home games, which prompted mixed reactions in the community and months-long discussions on how to address the situation.
Some community members felt the flag was symbol of support of law enforcement while others saw it as a divisive symbol of political extremism.
District staff noted there was no district policy related to the displaying of flags, which delayed quicker action by the district. Governing board members could only publicly address the situation during their meetings and when the item was properly agendized.
Ultimately, the Hart district’s governing board approved revised district policy before winter break. District staff also announced a new advisory committee for the purpose of creating ways to honor public servants.
Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said although there would be a select number of individuals on the committee, anyone can participate and submit their ideas to the advisory committee’s email, [email protected].
On Dec. 7, when the Hart district had its last discussion, addressed and resolved a portion of the controversy, district officials needed more time to revise board policy brought forth by staff as it related to student conduct on the issue.
“Legal has advised that we put policy together. There’s a lot of things we’ve never had that have come up recently,” said James Webb, who represents Trustee Area No. 4. “The world is changing. But I think if legal is telling us to avoid certain things, you need to have a policy.”
“Let’s having something we can all live with,” he added.