Bonham ISD is facing scrutiny from the community-at-large after someone complained about an American flag painted in a senior’s parking spot and the school had it painted over.
Superintendent Kelly Trompler released a statement Saturday afternoon after the district covered the American flag.
Stating federal flag code, she said the U.S. flag was being displayed incorrectly and on the ground. The superintendent said concerns about the painted flag beginning to chip and show signs of wear were also voiced.
Jeremy Hamilton, Fannin County resident, said “the school is in the wrong.”
“It was approved by the school, to begin with,” he said. “She (Superintendent Trompler), herself, never gave parents nor the child an explanation of her decision. I believe if it was a real flag, they would be just. But her response also implies that if you wear the flag in merchandise that it is wrong.”
Trompler said the code prohibits disrespect toward the flag and how the U.S. flag should never touch anything beneath it, nor the ground. The superintendent said it should also be destroyed when in a condition “no longer a fitting emblem to display.”
“The flag was oriented incorrectly, was on the ground and was beginning to show signs of wear and chipping paint after one week of use,” Trompler said. “The flag in the parking space was painted over by (Bonham ISD) staff at my direction.”
Hamilton said football fields have the U.S. Flag painted on them, people wear shirts with the flag and others have paintings of the flag.
“We are talking about art and a young man’s patriotism for his country,” he said. “Other schools across the country have kids that have painted flags and had no action against them.”
Hamilton said the Supreme Court in 1984 ruled it a first amendment right to burn a flag, which he is against.
“This young man was showing love for the country and had it painted over. He paid money to do it, it was approved and then taken away,”
Hamilton said. “I think it was handled very poorly. I think they buy him paint and have it repainted because he spent 10 hours and money on it. I also think a public apology is due.”
Trompler said in the statement not all flags are coming down at Bonham ISD, “nor does it mean Bonham ISD and I are not proud of the sacrifices made by the over 18 million veterans in the United States.”
“Despite my deep patriotism and respect for my country, the decision came back to the fact that rules, codes and laws are in place, and I have a duty, both personally and professionally, to follow them.”
Bonham ISD will hold its next school board meeting Monday, Oct. 19. in which Hamilton said he plans to attend and voice his concerns.
“I would like it to be handled professionally and mature! So please don’t come with hate. I won’t be calling for jobs or anything like that but I will be calling for an apology and the right of the young man to repaint his flag,” he said.
PHOTO: Panther Row Eatery