Posted: Monday, August 29, 2016
At Friday night’s football game between Travelers Rest and Berea, TR High School Principal Lou Lavely restricted some students from bringing the American Flag into the stadium. An American Flag was also confiscated from a student within the stadium. Mr. Lavely based this decision on past incidents in which TR students used the U.S. Flag, in conjunction with verbal taunts, to target Hispanic members of the Berea community in a manner that was both unsportsmanlike and also a misuse of our Flag. Though social media reported that Mr. Lavely restricted the flag because it might offend members of the Berea community, Mr. Lavely vehemently denies believing or stating that the Flag might be offensive to that community.
Today, after meeting with Travelers Rest student and faculty leadership, and with the benefit of time to reflect, Mr. Lavely has reached a different decision. He based this decision on current students’ request that he judge them on their own merits and not based on the actions of past students. As a result, effective immediately, students are allowed to bring the American Flag to any and all Travelers Rest High School events. Instead of restricting possession of the flag, the TRHS administration will, if needed, address the misuse of the Flag, or any other inappropriate behavior, on an individual basis.
“I fully support Mr. Lavely’s thoughtful reconsideration, and his willingness to respond to advice and input from his community,” said Superintendent Burke Royster. “I am appreciative of the Travelers Rest High School community for sharing its concerns and opinions on this matter in a respectful, civil manner. I also appreciate and applaud their desire to promote patriotism and service as a part of the culture of their school and am in agreement that students’ desire to carry and display the American flag should be encouraged and supported throughout the District.”