WARMINGTON: Bradford school suspends teen for flying pro-police flag on truck

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Carson Young is free to fly his pro-police flag on his truck anywhere he wants — except in the parking lot at Bradford District High School.

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In fact, the 17-year-old Bradford resident was suspended from school for three days for standing up for his right to support law enforcement.

“The reason for his suspension is opposition to authority,” Principal David Brooks wrote in the teen’s disciplinary letter. “Carson refused to comply with directions from school administration.”

So last Thursday, Friday and Monday, he was out of school — not for getting in a fight, or bringing drugs or a weapon to school, but because he believes in law and order.

In a letter to Brooks, Carson explained “flying the thin blue line is not only a symbol of my respect and appreciation toward law enforcement officers but also is very meaningful for me since it’s close to home.”

He told the principal how his father is a South Simcoe Police volunteer, his mother is a Barrie Police constable, his sister is an auxiliary officer with South Simcoe Police, his aunt is with the OPP and his legendary 31 Division grandfather, Bill Stanway, served as a Toronto Police officer for three decades.

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Carson Young, 17, was suspended for three days from Bradford District High School for flying this pro-police flag on his pickup truck in support of his policing family members.
Carson Young, 17, was suspended for three days from Bradford District High School for flying this pro-police flag on his pickup truck in support of his policing family members. Photo by Supplied /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

The kid told me Thursday all he was trying to do was “honour” his family’s service and throw some love and support toward first responders.

In his letter, he wrote police “have received a tremendous amount of hate during these pressing times of COVID-19 and BLM movements,” but “they are the ones protecting us when we need it the most.”

Carson added that the police “stand between law and order, and chaos” and they are “the force that safeguards society against irrationality.”

What seems irrational is a school ganging up on a student for a flag he bought on Amazon and had been flying for months without anybody caring. I have reached out to the Simcoe County District School Board for comment and will report back what they have to say if they respond.

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Carson’s mom Kim said her son didn’t get any direction in writing from the school after he was asked to pen his reasoning to the principal.

Perhaps the board should explain what its policy is on support symbols and which ones are acceptable? No such policy can be found on its website, but the board’s twitter account has November posts supporting important initiatives like World Kindness Day, Remembrance Day, a program to celebrate “history, culture and contributions of Indigenous peoples,” Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week.

So it’s unclear what the issue is with the thin blue line flag that has never even been inside the school.

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The fallout led to some pro-law enforcement supporters protesting the school this week. And Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor Rob Keffer took to social media to support the decision to not fly the flag only to later withdraw his post.

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The next thing that should be withdrawn is Carson’s suspension, so his good name and clean record can be restored. The thin blue line flag has been around for decades and someone having a flag on their car is no one’s business. This is a free country.

If you want to fly Black Lives Matter, Toronto Raptors or Maple Leafs, or a yellow ribbon in support of the troops and the Highway of Heroes, then you are freed to do so in Canada.

Carson is still flying his thin blue line Canadian flag on his truck. However, not wanting to further antagonize his principal, he puts a sleeve over it once in the school’s parking lot. But once leaves school property, he proudly flies it again.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

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