The principal in question, Lou Lavely, demanded that Travelers Rest High School student’s not fly American flags at the school event because he said they were being used to “taunt” the school they were playing, Berea High School, and could lead to “confrontations.”
Lavely’s decision was backed by the Greenville County School District, as well as the Berea High School principal. GCSD issued a statement saying it “encourages and supports the appropriate display of the United States Flag,” but does not “condone the use of the Flag to shield unsportsmanlike or inappropriate conduct.”
Ironically, right after Lavely banned his students from bringing the flag into the game, Berea students—the same ones Lavely claimed would be offended by the flag—flew the American flag on the field before the start of the game.
However, many TRHS students and individuals in the Travelers Rest community see the situation differently than the school’s principal.
In an interview on Monday, Dodd voiced his issues with the school administration, “As a student body, we are pretty upset with the statement the school released, it definitely painted Travelers Rest students as bigots and gave our student body a bad name.”
The TRHS student also stated flying the flag had nothing to do with taunting anyone, but rather, it was about showing the student body’s immense patriotism and love for the Americans who have fought and died defending the flag.
Dodd went on to explain that students at both schools were upset with the situation. “The Berea student body is upset about how this situation painted them as well, and when it comes down to it, this is just about every student having their First Amendment right to fly our flag,” he said.
Alivia Waynick, a student athlete at Travelers Rest high school, was one of the students that was asked to give up her flag at the game. When Waynick asked why she had to put her flag away, the school administrators claimed “it could offend people.”
In a video statement online, Waynick countered, stating, “Myself, and other students who attend Travelers Rest, are very disappointed that the administration expected us to be disrespectful and would let us explain why we had American flags at the football game.”
The student went on to say that TRHS students were proud of their country, and simply wanted to fly the flag as a statement of solidarity. Waynick then asked that the schools and community come together during this controversial time.
“I’m taking this opportunity to ask Berea students, Travelers Rest students, and the people of the community to come together and unite, in support of ourselves, our schools, and our country,” concluded Waynick.
On Monday morning, students flew flags from their trucks, cars, and even held miniature ones. A number of students wore pro-America themed clothing, as a way of protesting the school’s administration.
Hunter Ballew, a TRHS alumnus, claims that the situation with the American flag and the principal has been an on-going one:
Lou Lavely, Travelers Rest High School Principal, continues to power trip and strip young Americans of the right to proudly boast this Nation’s flag.
Last night I picked my brother up from the TRHS Football game and he told me that Lavely had denied entry to a couple of young men with American flags. I can’t deny the rage I felt as this is the third incident I’ve had involving Lavely and the flag I love.
First, the day after Osama was killed in 2011 we were told we couldn’t have the American flag on our trucks on school property and the TRPD came and handled the situation. Lavely later apologized to our group.
Second, I was picking up my youngest brother and saw two high school boys handling our flag with disrespect at the flag pole as they let it drag the ground and he acted like it was not an issue.
Third, last night as I took the flag and attempted to enter myself he stated, “I have the authority to tell anyone they can’t bring it on the property.” Unfortunately the cops were not helpful and sided with Lavely even after stating “you’d probably win if you took it to the school district.” I’m no expert and don’t know the laws in and out. But.. if he has the power to strip Americans the right to boast the American flag after being pumped up about our Olympic run there is a much bigger problem. A problem that need to be resolved.
I’m sick of this political correctness. We need to do something about it because it’s not getting any better
Leading members of the student body at TRHS plan on holding a press conference on Tuesday to publicly relay their position on the issue and defend their fellow students.