Here is an occasion for a study in contrasts. Time will tell who is behind this act of supremacist vandalism and violation of federal law, whether it was a student, a teacher, a parent, visitor, or a staff member. But imagine if the shoe were on the other foot in Saudi Arabia.
This act should become a "teachable moment" for the students at this school. There should be an unapologetic lesson in what the flag stands for and the respect it deserves and is afforded by law. One hopes that daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is not also an issue. "Fury as elementary school lowers American flag... and replaces it with Saudi Arabian one," from the Daily Mail, September 5 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Parents of children at an elementary school in Colorado are furious after the American flag was lowered at the multi-cultural school and replaced with a Saudi Arabian flag.
As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, someone at Bauder Elementary School in Fort Collins appears to have lowered the American symbol while raising that of the Muslim country in its place.
Not just any Muslim country's flag, but one which has the Islamic profession of faith, and conventionally, a sword printed on it.
The flag is thought to have initially been hung at the school as one of many posted around the site in recognition of the various nationalities represented by the young students.
The school's principal insisted the flag was not raised by a member of staff in order to disrespect the American flag - and said the American flag immediately was returned to its prominent position when the issue came to his attention.
But parents argue the display was a direct violation of federal law, which states: 'No other flag or pennant should be placed above, or, if on same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America.'
They argue it's the result of the effect a growing Muslim population is having on the area.
A photograph of the Saudi Arabian flag was taken by a concerned local and first posted on the Greeley Report blog.
We realise this is an extremely sensitive time with us getting close to the 10th anniversary of 9/11,' the school's principal, Brian Carpenter said.
'Bauder Elementary School serves a diverse international population of students. As a means of recognising the varied nationalities of students, flags from the students’ respective countries fly within the school’s center lobby.
'The American flag always sits highest in the centre of a window alcove with the other nation flags being tilted from a lower position.'
He insisted no one at the school had created the display and added: 'The American flag is very important to us and this country so we treat it with respect."