High School Bans Yearbook Picture of Student with American Flag Draped Over Her Shoulders

Yearbook picture with American Flag
Sierra Athos/Facebook

Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Washington, rejected a student’s yearbook picture because she posed with an American flag draped over her shoulders. A statement from the school claims the decision was not made against what the flag represents, but out of respect: “We respect our flag as much as any school in the area and were concerned that in the photo submitted it was being used as a prop in the photo and was not being afforded appropriate regard.”

“The fact that I can’t have my senior picture in the yearbook because it contains the American flag in it amazes me,” wrote the student to her Facebook page on Monday, sharing a purported screenshot of an email she received from the school notifying her that her yearbook photo was denied.

“Are you kidding me right now? If the American flag offends you effing leave,” the student added. “Screw this school I want to switch Lewis and Clark High School.”

Screw Lewis and Clark. The fact that I can’t have my senior picture in the yearbook because it contains the American…

Posted by Sierra Athos on Monday, December 7, 2020

According to Lewis and Clark’s principal, Marybeth Smith, the American flag violates the school’s new policy, which states that “no props are allowed.”

“We have rejected a photo this year in which our American flag was displayed in a way not sanctioned by Title Four, US Code, Chapter One,” said Smith in a statement posted to the school’s Facebook page.

A note from our Principal,Quick point of clarification regarding senior pix. We do not and have not banned the…

Posted by Lewis and Clark High School on Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The statement went on to claim that while the American flag is not allowed to be featured in the student’s yearbook photo, the school does not and has not “banned the American flag from inclusion in photos.”

“We do not and have not banned the American flag from inclusion in photos,” said Smith in her statement. “In the past we have celebrated students who have enlisted in the military by using senior photos highlighting their branch of service – student in uniform and US flag displayed behind them. It’s been an honor to portray our seniors in this way.”

The statement added:

We say the Pledge daily during school, we have our flag displayed in accordance with Code guidelines on our stage during all school events and we even have one of the largest US flags in this area in our gym – it is celebrated during the playing of our National Anthem prior to athletic competitions held there. We respect our flag as much as any school in the area and were concerned that in the photo submitted it was being used as a prop in the photo and was not being afforded appropriate regard. We continue to work through the matter with the student. Thank you.

The student took to social media again on Tuesday to respond to some of the other criticisms that she had apparently received in response to her photo.

“Well I’m sorry for using the flag as ‘clothing or apparel’ and ‘draping it over me’ because that goes against certain guidelines (flag code),” the student wrote. “People have also pointed out that the stripes on the bottom of my shoes are offensive, but it’s not the American flag so they can calm down on that one.”

“I’m also not sitting on the ground nor am I sitting on the flag. I would NEVER let the flag touch the ground. I don’t think I’m the ‘exception’ or ‘entitled’ to anything, but I’m just reaching out since the school was not doing anything,” she added.

Well I’m sorry for using the flag as “clothing or apparel” and “draping it over me” because that goes against certain…

Posted by Sierra Athos on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The student also noted that if people consider her photo with the American flag to be “clothing,” then it does not violate the school’s policy against using “props.”

“If everyone keeps claiming that I am using the flag as ‘clothing’ then there’s no way that it could be a ‘prop’ therefore making it acceptable in the yearbook,” the student said.

“I am sick of the people saying I am the opposite of patriotic for this picture and will let them spew the lies,” she added.

Principal Smith is expected to meet with the student and her parents to go over the new policy, according to a report by Country Music Family.

The student added that if she is not allowed to use the photo featuring the American flag, then she will not submit another one.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.