When contacted, by a Raleigh TV station, to comment on a new school policy in Sampson County, NC that essentially barred students from wearing US flags on their clothing — or flags from any other foreign country –on September 11th , the Superintendent of Sampson County Schools, Dr L. Stewart Hobbs Jr., called the situation unfortunate, but said educators didn’t want to pick which flags should be permissible.
That Dr. Hobbs’ fear of offending students with a possible connection to a foreign country is greater than his commitment to the principles of this nation is as telling as it is sad. It’s a bad lesson to teach in the schools, much less to the general public. Dr. Hobbs should remember that in each of his classrooms there is a United States flag. Students are required to recite the pledge of allegiance every day and are also required to learn American history and civics. Schools have been entrusted with these responsibilities to not only help build our nation, but to also cultivate love of country. Barring students from wearing flags as a way to commemorate a national tragedy ignores our history, demeans the patriotism of students and foists on students the mistaken notion that all nations are the same. One of the goals of education is to teach individuals to make reasoned, informed discriminating choices. That the Sampson County school system seems incapable of doing so and prohibits its students from doing the same, is an irony we can live without.