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Southeast Indiana school district goes viral, reverses decision after telling student to remove U.S. flag

The principal said they are "deeply sorry for the misunderstandings and confusion that social media is creating right now."
Cameron Blasek Flag
Posted at 8:34 AM, Mar 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-11 08:34:31-04

ST. LEON, Ind. — Wherever East Central High School senior Cameron Blasek goes, so does Old Glory. The American Flag blows in the wind on the back of his blue Dodge 4x4.

“The flag itself represents this country, this beautiful country that we live in,” Blasek said. “It also represents the people who fought their lives for it. And I think that’s a really hard thing to talk about, but I think it’s a big thing."

The 17-year-old fastened the flag to his truck earlier this summer and has driven it to school everyday, he said. It abides by the U.S. flag code.

American Flag on Back of Truck
Old Glory blows in the wind.

On Thursday, Blasek said he was pulled aside by his counselor and vice principal. He said they told him he needed to remove the flag from the back of the truck because it was a violation of school rules.

Blasek said school officials told him it could lead to other students flying flags “that are seen as offensive."

“Honestly, I was shocked,” he said. “I read through the… 2023-2024 Handbook, and the word ‘flag’ wasn't even mentioned in the parking lot or driving section. The only section it's mentioned in is the flag-twirling section.”

Blasek kept the flag on his truck. The following day, several others showed up to the parking lot with American Flags on their own vehicles.

“There was a huge support group there that believed and stood for the same thing that I did,” he said. “I was kind of shocked by that.”

Friday afternoon, principal Tom Black sent a note to parents to “offer clarification” and “address recent concerns and confusions.”

“I am pleased to inform you that we are allowing the display of the U.S. flag by students in the parking lot,” the letter stated.

In an email to WCPO 9, Black clarified that “no high school staff member or administrators stated or insinuated that the U.S. Flag was offensive, nor has there ever been a complaint received about the U.S. Flag.”

“The U.S. Flag is displayed in the front of our school and in every classroom. We begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. Clearly, we do not consider the U.S. Flag offensive,” he said.

“Friday morning, after consulting with other administrators, we determined that we would allow the U.S. Flag to be displayed, and would prohibit other flags if they were determined to be offensive,” Black said.

The school did not immediately respond to a follow-up question about whether a rule prohibiting flags is in the handbook and why the student was given a reminder on Thursday.

Black said the school has no plan to “change our handbook.”

The American flag has been politicized in recent years. A 2022 YouGov poll shows far less Democrats (49%) have a “very positive view” of the American flag compared to Republicans (83%),

The whole incident is going viral on social media. It was picked up by X (formerly Twitter) account @LibsofTikTok, where it now has more than 5 million views.

“I was pretty surprised by that,” said Cameron’s father Christopher Blasek.

There are veterans in the family, and Cameron is considering serving too after graduation this spring.

“I think everybody gets offended over something, That it doesn't mean what everybody says it does.” Blasek said. “This flag represents our country and the people who died for it and fought for it. And I respect that with my whole heart."