Washington high school student's photo rejected for yearbook as she was wearing American flag as a prop

Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane clarified that they had no objection to the flag in the picture but the way it was used

                            Washington high school student's photo rejected for yearbook as she was wearing American flag as a prop
(Sierra Athos/ Facebook)

A student has not been included in her school’s yearbook picture because her submission photo had her using the American flag as a prop draped over her shoulders. Sierra Athos, a student of Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Washington, wrote on her Facebook page, on December 8, “Screw Lewis and Clark. The fact that I can’t have my senior picture in the yearbook because it contains the American flag in it amazes me. Are you kidding me right now? If the American flag offends you effing leave. Screw this school I want to switch Lewis and Clark High School.” She also posted a screenshot of the email she got from the school along with her response to the email that read: “I seriously can’t have the American flag in my picture? So am I too late to submit my picture and I don’t get one now? Did I miss the deadline?”

While a statement from Lewis and Clark High School’s principal stated, “Quick point of clarification regarding senior pix.  We do not and have not banned the American flag from inclusion in photos. In the past we have celebrated students who have enlisted in the military by using senior photos highlighting their branch of service - student in uniform and US flag displayed behind them.  It’s been an honor to portray our seniors in this way.  We have rejected a photo this year in which our American flag was displayed in a way not sanctioned by Title Four, US Code, Chapter One. We say the Pledge daily during school, we have our flag displayed in accordance with Code guidelines on our stage during all school events and we even have one of the largest US flags in this area in our gym - it is celebrated during the playing of our National Anthem prior to athletic competitions held there.  We respect our flag as much as any school in the area and were concerned that in the photo submitted it was being used as a prop in the photo and was not being afforded appropriate regard. We continue to work through the matter with the student. Thank you.”

Athos again took to the social media site on December 9 after reportedly receiving criticisms over her picture. The girl said, “Well I’m sorry for using the flag as “clothing or apparel” and “draping it over me” because that goes against certain guidelines (flag code). People have also pointed out that the stripes on the bottom of my shoes are offensive, but it’s not the American flag so they can calm down on that one. I’m also not sitting on the ground nor am I sitting on the flag. I would NEVER let the flag touch the ground. I don’t think I’m the “exception” or  “entitled” to anything, but I’m just reaching out since the school was not doing anything.”

She added: “Yes I had a back-up plan and this was it. My first senior photo was rejected and I understood, but this one was too and I was sick of it. If everyone keeps claiming that I am using the flag as “clothing” then theres no way that it could be a “prop” therefore making it acceptable in the yearbook. I am sick of the people saying I am the opposite of patriotic for this picture and will let them spew the lies. Just wait for the actual airing tonight to get the full story. Thank you :) and oh man do I love America!”

Athos received a lot of support and praise from people on the internet for her statement. One such user commented, “Thank you for your courage. Like you, I love our country and defended freedom for 22 years. It does my heart good seeing a young individual expressing their love for America. You’re not desecrating our flag and you look extremely proud. God bless America and I trust many more will share your view.” 

“So sorry you have to go through this Sierra. I appreciate seeing a young lady expressing her love for The United States of America. I can tell you meant no disrespect. I hope this ends well for you and you are able to have your senior picture with your flag in it. God Bless you!” another one wrote.

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