A Sammamish, Washington, high school banned students from wearing red, white, and blue for its “Patriot’s Day” football game Friday over concerns such a memorial could be “racially insensitive” and offensive to some individuals.
Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH 770AM/94.5 FM in Seattle/Tacoma, wrote Monday at mynorthwest.com students at Eastlake High School were prepared for a “Patriot’s Day” theme at a football game against Rainier Beach.
“Red White and Blue Friday!” the Instagram announcement reportedly read, but has since been removed. “Dress in your USA Best!”
“Students wanted to do something to remember the tragic events,” Rantz noted. “But staff intervened.”
NEW: Students were set to wear red, white & blue colors at their football game to honor the lives lost on 9/11.
But school staff pulled the plug.
The principal said it could “unintentionally cause offense to some who see it differently.”https://t.co/lAcE5r7N7K
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) September 12, 2021
Rantz wrote his show obtained an email that revealed the school’s principal said wearing the colors of the American flag could “unintentionally cause offense to some who see it differently.”
The “red, white, and blue” themed event was cancelled abruptly and students were told about the decision Friday during morning announcements.
“At this point, I was fairly upset and confused as to why the theme was changed, so I went around asking students in our leadership,” a student told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “They had explained that red, white, and blue was going to be seen as racially insensitive and may affect people in a way that we will not understand and for that reason that we were to change our theme.”
As Rantz observed:
Eastlake High School students were not yet born when terrorists brought down the World Trade Center in New York City, attacked the Pentagon, and brought down United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But their lives — and the lives of every American — were changed forever.
Having a sense of history sometimes lost on young Americans, there was a student-led movement to honor those lost during the worst terrorist attack in history. Students would show their pride by wearing red, white, and blue clothing.
A mother of one student was reportedly “stunned” by the response she received from Principal Chris Bede to her question about the reason for the event’s cancellation.
“Our leadership teachers made this decision and explained it to students,” Bede reportedly wrote to her. “I know tomorrow is 9/11 and understand the sacrifice and values our flag represents, but I think they just did not want to unintentionally cause offense to some who see it differently.”
Rantz reported Associate Principal Darcie Breynaert also provided a similar response to another parent.
“Neither Principal Bede nor district communications director Shannon Parthemer explained who would take offense,” Rantz continued. “And why is wearing red, white, and blue offensive to begin with? No one would say.”
“Since it was not a home game, there was no opportunity to have an announcement about Patriot’s Day and to share why students were dressed in red, white, and blue,” is the statement Parthemer gave to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
Some apparently speculated about whether the opposing team had objected to the Patriot’s Day event at the game, but Rantz said a photo his show received depicted that the Rainier Beach team had few fans in the stands.
On a parents’ Facebook page, some reportedly expressed outrage about the decision and speculated the event’s cancellation could have been over the fact that the opposing team was predominantly black.
Emails reviewed by the Jason Rantz Show reportedly showed Bede appeared surprised by the decision to cancel the patriotic theme, that it had been made by another staff member.
“I understand your perspective and was not looped into this conversation until an hour ago,” he reportedly told a parent. “I do want to clarify that schools do not have a right to ban students from wearing anything as long as it is not lewd, vulgar, etc. And the theme of red, white, and blue definitely would not fit into that category.”
According to Rantz, Parthemer told his show there was no issue regarding the opposing team, and that one anonymous staff member was responsible for the decision to cancel the patriotic theme.
“We have followed up with the staff member on decision making processes,” Parthemer said.
“She did not, however, detail why the decision was upheld,” Rantz explained. “Indeed, both the principal and associate principal used the same coordinated language to explain the decision before the game even took place.”
Breitbart News reached out to Bede, asking him to comment on how the decision to cancel the Patriot’s Day theme was made and whether he agreed with it, and is awaiting his response.
Several students reached out to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, expressing anger and frustration over the decision to cancel the patriotic theme.
“We disagreed and were extremely disappointed,” said Ryan Ware, Eastlake senior class president and a member of the football team. “I couldn’t believe their reasoning.”
“I was instantly upset, and frustrated,” another student emailed, adding:
If Eastlake is all about including everyone’s beliefs and being together as a “family,” then why are we being told we can’t represent the country we live in? I have seen other [Lake Washington School District] football teams that held a flag or did some sort of memorial recognition towards 9/11, but apparently we weren’t allowed to even wear USA colors.
Yet another student expressed anger and confusion over the decision.
“I was fairly upset and ended up not attending the game. … [It] was really kind of [confusing] as to why the topic was so controversial that we couldn’t wear that clothing,” the student reportedly said.
The parent who shared her exchange with Bede told Rantz, “There is always the potential that someone may be offended by something but this decision baffles me.”
“I would argue that many more people are offended by the decision to ban the theme of wearing red, white and blue,” she added. “If there is one thing that has the potential to unite us all, it’s that we are Americans.”