A teacher in Washington state says she was forced to take down the pro-police flag she hung in her classroom to honor her brother, over claims that it was ‘too political.’
‘They told her that it’s controversial to have that flag up,’ Chris Sutherland, the teacher’s brother, told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. ‘That it makes kids and staff feel unsafe, which to me, that does not make sense at all.’
He said his sister, who has not been named, hung the Thin Blue Line flag on her bulletin board to support him, a former police officer with the Marysville Police Department who served as a resource officer during the fatal Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting in 2014.
The flag in the teacher’s room was surrounded with pictures of him.
But soon, administrators at the Marysville School District started to take issue with her flag, and asked her to take it down or face repercussions.
Yet the district reportedly allows banners supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and Pride flags to be hung on district property.
A teacher at a Washington middle school was reportedly asked to take down her Thin Blue Line flag, like the one seen here, that she hung up in her classroom to support her brother
The Marysville School District, though, allows Black Lives Matter and Pride flags to be hung on district property
Sutherland said his sister first had a Thin Blue Line sticker on her laptop, which an assistant principal seemed to take issue with.
In a HR document about the incident, which Rantz obtained, the assistant principal said there were ‘concerns about how students, families and community members might interpret what the image is intending to communicate, and that this interpretation may cause a disruption to the learning environment.’
The objections were soon dropped, though, and the teacher later posted the flag in her classroom.
Soon, Rantz reports, a second assistant principal ordered the flag to be taken down, an an HR representative for the Marysville School District said in a Letter of Clarification to the teacher that the district was ‘highly concerned about the impact of this political symbol on students, staff and families of Marysville Middle School.’
It said the assistant principal ‘had heard concerns from other staff members about how this political symbol might negatively impact the overall work environment,’ but does not indicate what those concerns were.
‘She was told it makes students and teachers of color uncomfortable,’ Sutherland told DailyMail.com.
She tried to fight back, he said, telling them ‘she was leaving it up because of what it meant to her.’
District officials then told her to ‘refrain from using the “Thin Blue Line Flag” symbol’ in the school by the morning of September 8, or she could face ‘further disciplinary action.’
But the district did not seem to have a problem with the Pride flag she hung up in support of her sister, Sutherland said.
‘There’s also, she was telling me, BLM stuff hanging on the walls, which she was told is OK,’ he told Rantz.
‘Just for whatever reason, just the Thin Blue Line flag cannot be hung up there.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Marysville School District for comment.
The teacher works at Marysville Middle School, seen here
Her brother had served as a a resource officer during the fatal Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting in 2014
Eventually, Rantz reports, the teacher decided to remove the Thin Blue Line flag, but wrote in a message to the school’s Human Resources department that the ordeal ‘has been the most traumatic and hostile’ situation she has experienced at the school.
She wrote: ‘I was proud to come back as a Marysville alumni and begin teaching here in 2014. I remain hopeful for the remainder of the school year.’
The teacher further explained that the decision to pull the flag came from ‘an agenda rather than really wanting to gain any understanding of me, who I am, or my story.’
She added that the incident ‘left a lasting impression,’ but she forgives the school district for the sleight.
‘It really hurts,’ Sutherland told DailyMail.com. ‘I know it hurts her too and many more to make her take down the flag that represents us in law enforcement in a school district where we had one of the worst school shootings a couple years ago.
‘I was on campus at Marysville-Pilchuck High School that day, and gave my heart and soul in an effort to make things normal,’ he noted. ‘I worked so close with the school district and community that it now feels like a slap in the face to me and my brothers and sisters in law enforcement who support us.
‘Plus the district does not wait any time at all to call us when they need us,’ Sutherland added. ‘If the flag and sight of police officers is that bad and scary, then why do they still call?’
Sutherland noted that his sister will continue to fight to get the flag back up in her classroom without fear of being fired for it.
The incident comes as multiple teachers have removed American flags from their classrooms, according to FOX News, with one in Portland saying they removed it because it ‘stands for violence and menace and intolerance, and I will not fly that in my room.’
Another teacher in California was recently removed from her classroom after a viral video showed her admitting she encouraged students to pledge allegiance to a gay pride flag after she removed the American flag from the classroom because it made her ‘uncomfortable.’
And just last week, Arizona State University students were confronted over a ‘racist’ sticker on a computer reading ‘Police Lives Matter,’ and were reportedly told to leave the area where they were studying.