Defying the school’s insistence that he take down the two giant American flags he has flying on his truck, a high school student in Virginia is exercising his First Amendment rights. High school student Christopher Hartless is determined to use his right to free speech by flying the flags that represent the nation his family fought for.
Hartless is adamant that his family’s commitment to the country is symbolized by his right to fly the American flags. He said, “I feel like I should be able to represent the flags that my family fought for because they fought for America.”
The controversy started when Hartless received instructions from school officials to remove the flags from his truck, claiming that the flags were a distraction. This logic, though, seems dubious to Hartless and his stepmother Christina Kingery, especially since the school already has the American flag flown from its flagpole for all pupils to view.
“I fail to see how having one on the flagpole, where all other students can see it, is distracting,” Hartless remarked.
Hartless has made the decision to resist the school’s demands. His stepmother emphasized that they both accept his decisions and that she is entirely in favor of him making them. “I told my son that we would both support him throughout if this is what he believes in,” Kingery said.
The school was adamant that big flags or banners on cars are prohibited because they could divert attention from other drivers, but they persisted. Hartless’ parking pass was canceled and he was told to take down the flags once more this week.
Hartless has decided to seek homeschooling as an alternative in order to stay true to his values. They think the school would be willing to re-enroll him if they changed their mind about allowing kids to fly the American flag.
In a statement outlining its rules, the school emphasized that big, potentially distracting flags are not allowed on cars. They did not, however, offer any precise dimensions or standards for what qualifies as a “large” flag.
The importance of free speech and individual expression in educational settings is highlighted by Christopher Hartless’s unflinching stand in defense of his right to fly American flags on his vehicle as a symbol of his patriotism.