By John Klar
National outrage over George Floyd’s death was particularly virulent in super-progressive (“woke”) Vermont, where schools widely displayed the BLM flag beside the American flag. Unconcerned that this was a blatantly illegal government endorsement of an overtly partisan organization, proponents donned the “hear no evil from constitutionalists” earmuffs and prided themselves on agitating their neighbors by violating the Constitution.
Many Vermonters have complained publicly that this is obvious abuse by government, but school officials have stonewalled, gaslighted, and suppressed all efforts to assert this axiomatic constitutional truth. The state’s capital city of Montpelier shamelessly painted BLM on the road in front of the Vermont State House and condemned as racist an effort to display “Liberty and Justice For All” beside it. This is a cohesive, deliberate drive to eliminate basic constitutional guarantees to be replaced with an anti-constitutional ideology: the BLM flag is elevated as a superior symbol.
The United States Supreme Court’s recent 9-0 Shurtleff decision, which said the government of Boston discriminated against a petitioner by refusing to fly the “Christian flag,” has caught the attention of these miscreants where parents and taxpayers were ignored. A state leader in this patently illegal flag display has been the Randolph Union High School (RUHS). The school mascot was reinterpreted as racist — the ghost rider on a horse looked too much like a KKK member — after the woke school principal draped an actual robe over it to project his racist interpretation onto the community. Now Vermont is pushing a law for the state to oversee all mascots to supposedly “provide positive and inclusive learning environments for all students.”
RUHS children have been systematically conditioned with CRT and BLM ideology, a bold and obscene indoctrination into liberal-only politics. Speech that detracts from the Democrat ownership of RUHS is verboten. Study materials portray police and conservatives as racists and reference “right-wing nuts.” The left-wing nuts are praised.
Students at RUHS can wear gay pride T-shirts but not shirts that say, “There are only two genders” (that’s a political attack on sensitive trans people) or “Let’s Go Brandon” (too profane). At a recent school board meeting, a clueless equity director was incensed that one student dared to wear a shirt that said “I love Chick-fil-A” in protest against the school’s cancelation of a baseball team fundraiser for using that company’s chicken. The school decided it was an attack on gays and imputed a nonexistent hate motive, aiming:
After the Chick-fil-A fundraiser was canceled, a student athlete wore a homemade shirt saying “I heart Chick-fil-A,” walking past other children, and children that have two moms [sic]. The message was, the Chick-fil-A fundraiser was canceled because it was not inclusive of all identities, and that response of a child who was considered a leader in the community wore a homemade shirt expressing that disdain. Is that what we want to show our children that that’s what a student leader does?
This school decides what is “hate speech” by conservatives while preaching its own variety against parents or students who disagree. Welcome to America’s one-party future!
The community has finally had enough, and parents who understand the Constitution have begun to stand up. Shurtleff has infused them with renewed determination, as has the increasingly absurd speech content discrimination of this and other Vermont schools. At a school board meeting on May 11, many “equity stakeholders” (partisan bureaucrats abusing their positions) stood up in oblivion and beseeched the school board to continue flying their illegal hate symbol!
School superintendent Layne Millington has taken missteps in responding to the community, portraying their rightful indignation at this illegal partisan bias as simmering racism that has infected the schools. However, he has been moved by Shurtleff, and on May 11, he attempted to explain clear law to a fuzzy social justice school board, which decided to “take it slow and study the law.”
Social justice ideology seeks to eliminate First Amendment protections for people (of any color) who do not buckle to their cult. The display of the BLM flag is every bit as inappropriate as a Confederate flag flown at a school. Even children understand that — even in Vermont.
Vermont is on the front lines of a constitutional battle — the entire state education apparatus has enthusiastically leaped onto the BLM bandwagon to virtue-signal its violation of voters’ basic constitutional liberties. Students have experienced a persistent ideological discrimination and are rebelling, with parents at their side who now know more clearly than firever the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Insisting that the school district provide personal indemnity if the BLM flag remained, Superintendent Millington wisely directed the offending BLM symbol to be taken down pending the school board’s decision. After years of community insult, the BLM flag at RUHS was unceremoniously taken off the school’s flagpole during the night.
The First Amendment has been restored for now.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. This commentary originally appeared at American Thinker.