Date: November 12, 2010
Byline: Elissa Harrington
Denair Middle School Makes Boy Take American Flag Off Bike
Officials Later Backtrack; Allow Boy to Fly Flag on Bike
DENAIR — 13-year-old Cody Alicea rides with an American flag on the back of his bike. He says he does this to be patriotic and to honor veterans, like his own grandfather, Robert. He's had the flag on his bike for two months but Monday, was told to take it down.
A school official at Denair Middle School told Cody some students had been complaining about the flag and it was no longer allowed on school property.
"In this country we're supposed to be free," said Cody. "And I should be able to wave my flag wherever I want to. And they're telling me I can't." Cody had to take the flag off his bike and put it in his backpack, where he kept it all week.
Cody's grandfather says the school was concerned about racial tensions or uprisings because of the flag. He feels if there was really a problem it should have been brought up two months ago, not during Veterans week. And if it was an issue of safety, parents should have been contacted.
"No action should be taken. We don't want any repercussion," said Roger Alicea. "We just want Cody to be proud of what he's doing." Roger says the family is not planning to take any legal action, but they do want to meet with school staff.
Cody says he wants to serve in the military some day, and is raising money for a trip to Washington, D.C. in the Spring.
After being contacted by FOX40 Friday morning, Denair's Superintendent says Cody will be allowed to keep the flag on his bike. He told FOX40 he and the school are patriotic, but their main priority is keeping students safe; the school will focus on the students who are causing uprisings. Riding a bike is still not allowed on school campus, but when Cody rides his bike to school he can now fly the flag.
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