Teen leaves high school after officials tell him to remove American flags from his truck

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 10:01 PM EDT
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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WSET) - A Virginia high school student is not backing down regarding flying his American flags.

The school is demanding he remove two large American flags from his truck, but he’s refusing to do so.

High school student Christopher Hartless said he is just exercising his First Amendment rights by flying the flags.

“My family fought for America, and I feel like I should be able to represent the flags that they fought for,” Hartless said.

His stepmom, Christina Kingery, said last Wednesday, Hartless went to school with the flags mounted on his truck, but school administrators told him he needed to take them down because it was a distraction.

“I don’t understand how it’s distracting if they have one on the flagpole that every other student can see,” Hartless said.

And he has refused to take the flags down.

“I told my son if this is what he’s believing in, then we are both going to stand behind him all the way,” Kingery said.

This week, Hartless said he was told again he needed to take the flags down by school officials. The school also revoked his parking pass.

Kingery doesn’t want him to have to ride the bus. So, they have decided to do homeschooling.

“If they’re willing to change and let kids want to fly the American flag, then I’ll put him back in school,” Kingery said.

The high school sent out a statement over the weekend regarding the student parking contract:

“Large flags or banners are not allowed to be flown or displayed on vehicles due to their distractive nature. Please be assured that we proudly fly the American flag throughout the school.”

The school system would not elaborate on exactly what makes a flag too large. Officials reiterated the ban applies to any flag large enough to distract other drivers.