A Virginia teen is standing up for his right to freedom of expression and will be homeschooling instead of attending his high school. Christopher Hartless, a student at Staunton River High School in Bedford County, was told to remove two American flags hailing from the back of his pickup truck on grounds that it was a “distraction.”
Hartless was parked in the school’s parking lot when high school administrators approached him to demand the flags’ removal. Hartless noted, “My family fought for America, and I feel like I should be able to represent the flags that they fought for.” His step-mother, Christina Kingery, is also standing behind his decision and commented, “If this is what he’s believing in, then we are both going to stand behind him all the way.”
Furthermore, after he refused a second demand to take the flags down, the school also revoked his parking pass. Kingery does not want her son riding the bus, and as such they have decided to pursue homeschooling for Hartless. She expressed her stance, “If they’re willing to change and let kids want to fly the American flag, then I’ll put him back in school.”
The Bedford County Public Schools (BCPS) has a policy prohibiting “large flags or banners” on student vehicles, noting that it’s a potential distraction and safety hazard. The BCPS Code of Student Conduct also restricts “language or images that are offensive, profane, vulgar, discriminatory, or racially/culturally divisive.” It specifically mentions flags or logos that are interpreted as “hurtful or intimidating to others,” however, American symbols are allowed.
In their press release, the school expressed their admiration for patriotism, noting that “per the Bedford school board’s patriotism policy, they ‘proudly fly the American flag throughout the school, and the Pledge of Allegiance is recited every morning.’”
At this time, Hartless and his stepmother seem to be committed to homeschooling him. He is exercising his right to free expression, which is an important cornerstone of American civilization. Bedford County is home to the National D-Day Memorial, and it speaks volumes when a young man is inspired to show patriotism towards the very flags his family has fought for.
Good for him to stand his ground. Especially when we see Gen Z’ers either go with the flow or bow to the mob.