When South Carolina high school senior Peyton Robinson was approached by a school administrator at York Comprehensive High School in May of 2015, the 18-year-old wasn’t expecting to be told that he needed to take a pair of flags down off his car.
Robinson had attached a pair of flag poles to the bed of his pickup truck, an American flag on one side and a National League of Families P.O.W. flag on the other.
Students in York County, South Carolina set up to protest after a senior was asked to remove an American flag from his…
The teen had affixed both flags to his car as a show of patriotism and support for the military, which he had multiple family members who served in various branches of. He was shocked, therefore, when the administrator told him that his vehicle received a complaint and that he’d need to take the flags down.
According to the school, it wasn’t the type of flags that he was flying that were the problem—it was flying anything from his car in general.
“We asked students not to fly flags, period, in the parking lot of the high school because it is a safety issue,” explained school district director of human resources Maria Duncan. “It has nothing to do with the American flag.”
To Robinson, though, the flags weren’t a safety issue at all. And when someone went out to his car and took them down before he’d even gotten a chance to go outside, he decided that he wasn’t going to back down.
To him, there are certain flags that would cause offense—and he explained that he had no desire to display those, citing the Confederate Flag as an example. Students have come under scrutiny for flying that particular flag off their vehicles in recent years, even in states that weren’t a part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Robinson, though, pointed out that there’s a difference between flying such a controversial symbol and affixing an American flag to his car.
“I’d understand if it was a Confederate flag or something that might offend somebody,” Robinson said. “I wouldn’t do that. But an American flag—that’s our country’s flag. I have every right to do it.”
His story sparked a minor outcry. More than 70 vehicles showed up to York Comprehensive after he posted about the ordeal on social media, driven by everyone from other students to local veterans and all boasting American flags of their own.
Instead of doubling down on their policy, though, York Comprehensive made a refreshing decision—and rather than prolonging the fight, they decided to reverse course.
Over the last 24 hours, an issue has been brought to light regarding our policy of flags not being allowed on our…
“Due to the outstanding display of patriotism through peaceful demonstration, it is apparent to us that many are not happy about this policy,” the school wrote in an official statement. “School officials have reviewed the standing policy regarding flags and have decided that an exception will be made for the American flag, as long as the size of the flag(s) does not create a driving hazard.”
Duncan explained that it was a moment for the school to rethink their policy, and in the end, the rules came out in favor of Robinson’s truck.
“It’s been a teachable moment for our students and a good opportunity to show how things can be resolved,” she said.