ELMHURST – Duly vilified for endorsing an exploration of constitutionally-protected rights, York Community High School principal Erin DeLuga announced Wednesday that the school will refrain from conducting school exercises in the future that open up a dialogue, encourage freedom of expression or raise important questions regarding First Amendment rights after the re-creation of a controversial American flag display at the school sparked strong criticism from parents, military veterans, and other members of the Elmhurst community.
An examination of real cases surrounding freedom of speech designed to engage sophomore students was set up at the school on Tuesday and included the re-creation of Dread Scott’s “What is the proper way to display the U.S. Flag?” art exhibit by placing a United States flag on the floor of the school’s library. Once a photograph of the display was published on social media, members of the community quickly rallied to expose the school’s unconscionable act of teaching students how to think instead of what to think.
“I contacted the media last night to let them know what they did to the flag,” said York High School parent Bill Lofton, who aborted a “lengthy” discussion initiated by his daughter Tuesday evening about the flag and the First Amendment in order to email the Chicago Tribune, WGN and Mancow Muller about the flag display. “I’m taking her out of York High School immediately.”
Lofton was among the majority of people interviewed near the York High School campus and around Elmhurst who were angry about the school’s flag display.
“It’s really heart-breaking to hear about the disrespect they showed toward the flag,” said Elmhurst resident and former U.S. Army Sergeant Larry Melvin, enjoying the “Blue Plate Special” of Homestyle Pot Roast with potatoes, carrots and gravy at the Elmhurst American Legion on Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t risk my life fighting in Vietnam to watch someone place a flag on the ground, bend a knee during the National Anthem or wear Stars and Stripes Speedos with a picture of an American Eagle over their pecker.”
While most people interviewed were understandably focused on the display of the flag, many residents were just as angry about other exhibits in the social exercise that were diabolically designed to make students feel uncomfortable and encourage discussion.
“I’m mostly upset about the flag display, but they were also playing Negro music about killing police officers, and they had a sign accusing our Lord of smoking the devil’s lettuce,” said resident Claire Stevens, referring to one station at the exhibit where a song titled “Cop Killer” by rap artist Ice-T was played and another station that featured a banner with “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” written on it. “This isn’t what education is all about.”
Principal DeLuga stated that a beach towel will be used in place of the flag if the same exhibit is put on display next year, which will “hopefully” stifle any reactions or feedback from students.