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In what can only be viewed as a snub to law and order, the principal of Fletcher High School has banned the display of a flag honoring a dead police officer.

A student at Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach had flown the Thin Blue Line flag honoring his late father and other officers during all 11 games last year and flew it again last week when Fletcher played a game against Fleming Island. The flag was to honor Cpl. Andy Lavender, a former Jacksonville Beach police officer who died in August 2019.

Lavender’s widow, Lorie, said, “It is all about my son’s love for his dad and his memory. He was one of a kind. He is very much missed and loved,” according to the Daily Wire. Her son is an offensive lineman on the football team.

Last month, Lavender was also honored in the Inaugural Andy Lavender Memorial Beach Run, First Coast News said.

Steve Zona, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, said, “This is a prime example where it was as innocent as can be, there is no politics involved, no us versus them, simply to honor a great man and allow his kids in the football team to honor him, and they have taken those, hijacked it and called it racism. And now the son and these kids are suffering because of it.”

A left-wing zealot posted something on social media complaining about the show of support for police, which set in motion the events that led to the ban.

One of those complaining was a leader of the local Black Lives Matter, a radical organization opposed to law and order that has been involved in rioting, looting and burning in other cities as part of well-organized and well-financed efforts to defeat President Donald Trump in November.

Anyone can see the display of the Thin Blue Line flag was not political but the opposition to it clearly is political.

Nevertheless, Fletcher Principal Dean Ledford knelt to the complainers and issued this statement:

“It will always be my goal to ensure all students at Fletcher High School have the best possible educational experience to gain every opportunity for success beyond our school. A cohesive school culture in which students learn to shape and express their personal views is essential toward the accomplishment of that goal.

Since last year, a young man on our football team has been allowed to memorialize his father by carrying a flag onto the field with the team during the opening ceremonies of each game. The flag, which is known as the Thin Blue Line flag, has a different meaning for different people, and rather than representing the young man’s personal feelings, it was being interpreted as a political statement of the team and of the school.

In consultation with the coaches, I determined that the act of using this flag in this personal way, while in the context of the football game opening ceremony, could easily be construed as representing a political position of our school and not just the personal feelings of the student and his teammates. Therefore, I have determined that it is no longer appropriate to continue. I am in conversation with the student and his teammates about ways they can appropriately express their personal views.”

Of course, anything can be “construed” or “interpreted” as anything anyone wishes. Suppose one or two parents construed football to be violent and dangerous. Would Fletcher ban the sport?

Fletcher’s action is reminiscent of the unpopular stance taken by the NFL. It prohibited Tim Tebow from kneeling in prayer, and other players from expressing support for law and order and now is supporting political demonstrations against the flag of the United States, and law and order. As a result, its attendance and revenues are dropping.

It is expected that Fletcher football fans who support law and order will wear clothing and display their preference in other ways during the rest of the team’s season.

That would be fitting. Mob rule can’t be allowed to prevail.

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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