Students protest flag controversy at Dunedin High School

Posted at 11:21 PM, Sep 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-16 23:21:17-04

On Friday, Dunedin High School students peacefully protested a school policy that flags cannot be left on a truck bed, during the school day.

According to the Pinellas County Schools Public Information Officer, the police has been in place for a few years and it applies to any loose items because it's a safety issue and to prevent possible vandalism.

The Public Information Officer said students are allowed to have flags, but they need to be put away in the cab, during school. The PIO said on on Monday, Sept. 12 students were reminded about the policy.

"Everyone had their flags on the back of their cars in memorial of it. Principal Johnson and the SRO's decided to take them down and lay them in the back of the beds of the truck," Amber Alisandrelli said.

Alisandrelli, 16, is a senior. she said she never heard about the policy until this week.

"First they said it could be offensive to some people. Now, they're saying it's a safety issue," Alisandrelli said.

Alisandrelli said students responded with today's protest. She said more than 50 students displayed flags on their cars. She said none of them were taken down today.

"We always just wanted to show this is what we want," Alisandrelli said.

ABC Action News learned the school's principal proposed a solution.

In an email to the PIO, he stated this was never about the American flag, but an issue about safety; He said this rule was in place before he took over and the rule stated truck beds had to be empty. His proposal is for the Student Government Association to vote on whether to amend the parking lot rules. The SGA meeting is next Wednesday; they'll vote on it. The principal said if it's approved, he'll have the final approval. According to the principal, this has been a "great teachable moment about government and working together".

Alisandrelli hopes this is not another hurdle. She has relatives who have served for our country.

"I want to be able to fly my American flag in honor of my family and I think taking that right away from me is not okay," Alisandrelli said.