Every once in a while, we see stories about public schools banning the American flag from its students’ bicycles and automobiles.  Every time the community pushes back against this sort of unreasonable policy, the policy suddenly changes, and the schools’ representatives make a statement declaring the flag sacred, the school patriotic, and the intent of the flag ban benign or even beneficent.

A South Carolina high school recently had such an epiphany after banning one of its students from flying the American and POW/MIA flags on his truck:

Peyton Robinson, a senior at York Comprehensive High School in York, S.C., has been driving his truck around our end of York County with two large flags attached to the bed – an American flag and one that honors military servicemen and women who have been taken as POWs (prisoners of war) or are MIA (missing in action).

On Wednesday, May 13, he was pulled from class and sent to meet an administrator in the parking lot, where he discovered his flags had been removed and placed in the bed of his truck.  He was told by school officials, “Do not return to school with these flags.”

According to Peyton’s Instagram post, the school administrators told him that “people had complained,” but when the school issued its statement, they said the ban was due to “safety concerns.”  Apparently, the flag was a driving hazard that the public high school was uniquely qualified to address.

Whatever their initial purpose in and subsequent justification for telling Peyton that he had to remove his flags, the backlash from the community, online, and in the national media was rather more than they bargained for:

On Thursday, An impromptu parade of more than 70 vehicles filled with flag-waving friends, classmates, and local patriots made its way through town and then parked in front of the school for a demonstration, country-style.

The story topped the news all over this conservative-leaning South Carolina county, and was soon picked up by national media.

In 2010, a California middle school, also first citing complaints then safety concerns, told one of its students that he could no longer fly the American flag on his bicycle.  The response was immediate and amazing:

Public school administrators do understand that banning the American flag is unpopular and indefensible, so one wonders not only why they do it but how often they are successful with these bans.