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Monday, November 15, 2010

Standing Up To Rights Violations

More and more we see as our rights are being trampled on. We've seen cases where kids wearing T-Shirts depicting the American Flag on Cinco de Mayo were sent home from school for fear of violence happening. Well, that same school district was once again in the news this week. This time, telling a 13-year-old boy that he couldn't have the American flag on his bike.

13-year-old Cody Alicea flies a small American flag on his bike in honor of veterans like his grandfather. He's been doing so for 2 months but now the school district is telling him he can't due to "racial tensions." Cody made a comment that many adults don't say, “In this country we’re supposed to be free. And I should be able to wave my flag wherever I want to. And they‘re telling me I can’t.” Denair Middle School near Sacramento, CA with the Denair Unified School District Superintendent Edward Parraz said that while Cody does have a First Amendment right, “with that comes a responsibility.”

“Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they’ll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don’t really want,” Parraz said. “We want them to appreciate the cultures.” Apparently being able to fly the American flag that men and women have died for isn't being considerate. But, after this story showed up in the news, the Denair Unified School District was flooded with calls from parents in and out of the school district complaining. After receiving so many calls, the district changed its mind and is letting Cody fly his flag and is now seeking punishment on the ones who made the complaint in the first place.

But California isn't the only state with flag controversy, Idaho has some too. Steve and Robin Perfect just had their son, Sgt. Edward Nadler, go to Iraq. To honor him, the bought an American flag to display on the front of their condominium. Copper Ranch Condominiums and many residence told the Perfects' that they couldn't fly their flag and that they had to take it down. “We’ve been harassed and hassled for the past two months, and we’re all stressed,” Robin said. “It’s bad enough that my only son is going to Iraq — now I have to worry about this.”

The Home Owner's Association (HOA) has told the Perfects' that the flag is in violation of policy. “It’s about items in the common area,” Property manager Brian Emerick said. “And, tenants are not allowed to place items in the common area … [including] any number of things, bird houses, wind chimes, anything.” A day after putting the flag up, Steve received a call from Lido Equities, the national California-based company that leases the condo they rent. The representative, he said, told him she received complaints about his American flag and said that flying it made it appear that he was “supporting the war.” She said he should think about being more considerate to his neighbors and ask them if they objected to the flag.

As stupid and unfree as that sounds, Steve obliged and asked some neighbors for their opinion.

He started with a neighbor from across the street who had been a dinner guest of the Perfects before and who had even looked after their condo during a spring trip to Mexico.

According to Steve, he asked the neighbor if she had any problems with him hanging the American flag. The response, he went on to explain, could be considered a resounding “yes.” “Yes I f****** God d*** do!” Steve said she shouted. She continued: “You know what, you take your f****** flag and move out and hang it in your little house, ’cause [the flag] is on common ground and you can’t hang it there.” Sounds like a wonderful person.

After numerous request from the HOA to remove the flag, the Perfects stood strong and refused to do so. Robin responded to the request by quoting an e-mail she received from Idaho U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, which outlined the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005. That law says “a condominium association … may not adopt or enforce any policy … that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.”

The response from the HOA, they ignored the letter and the law. In response to this long battle, the Perfects' have move the flag from the front of their porch to a spot next to their door since one of the complaints was that the flag was hanging over the sidewalk. The HOA says that it's still in violation and that either the flag be removed or the Perfects' will be forced out. We need to flood this place with calls in support of the Perfects' just like the school district. To contact Property manager Brian Emerick, call (208)788-2654.

Now to the east coast in New York. An upstate New York elementary school is only doing a partial pledge in the mornings. Despite many pleas for the full pledge, the North Collins Central School District is allowing only 6 words of the pledge to be said. "I pledge allegiance to the flag" will be heard over the intercom at North Collins Elementary School, but then the sound system will shut off and the students will finish the pledge in class at their own pace, Ben Halsey, superintendent of North Collins Central School District said.

"It has been the philosophy of the building that the pledge does indeed get recited every day, but it gets recited by teachers and students individually, so the pace is appropriate for their level," Halsey said. "The public address system simply serves as a prompt to start the pledge." He said the practice enables students to recite the pledge at their own pace, which is typically slower for younger students. Dozens of people, including a board member who resigned over the controversy, attended a school board meeting Tuesday night to plead to have the pledge recited in its entirety over the school's intercom. The former board member, Rosemarie Troidl, resigned on Oct. 26 after fielding what she said was a growing number of complaints from parents and residents about the pledge.

Now for the most revealing part of the story. Upon hearing about this controversy, I went to the North Collins Central School District website to get their phone number and complain like I had with the Denair Unified School District. Upon getting to their website, I found their mission statement which is very interesting. It reads:

"The North Collins Central School District is a safe and supportive learning environment that strives to maximize educational opportunities for all students, faculty, staff and community members. We nurture responsibility, creativity, energy, and open-mindedness to empower successful contributors to a global society."


The school district doesn't seem very open-minded and seems they are going for a New World Order with the indoctrination of students for a global society. I called the Superintendent about the mission statement of the district, I got a voice mail and left a message. I have to receive a call back.

These are things we are facing in our society. It may not directly happen to you but it's like legislation. If a Congressman or Senator from another state votes to lock you in your home, his or her vote effects you just as much as their constituents. If the above acts were ruled to be okay, they could just as easily be done against you and based on that previous ruling, then found to be fine when done to you. We must stand up and be involved in legislation and DC issues, but we must also stand up and be involved and ethical issues around the country as well. We can not let people's rights be trampled on. So, I encourage you, for the above stories and any other stories you see where people's rights are being violated, find a number those responsible and call them and let them know that they are wrong and that we are standing against them on it. Who knows, you could get them to change their mind just like the case of Cody and his American flag in the Denair Unified School District.

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