The Saugus High School football team will no longer carry the “Thin Blue Line” flag in support of law enforcement when they storm the field before games, a decision that prompted heated debate among community members on social media.
The football team has been supporting law enforcement after the nightmarish mass shooting back in 2019. Police officers were able to respond to the scene and rescue children wounded during the rampage of the 16-year-old shooter.
From that day forward, the Saugus High School football team has been honoring law enforcement with the “Thin Blue Line” flag before the game starts.
The flag, which is intended to honor law enforcement, uses the thin blue line to represent the line that keeps society from descending into lawlessness. The blue color is specifically used to correlate to the color most officers wear.
The William S. Hart Union High School District confirmed Wednesday evening that the flag will no longer be displayed and that school officials are working with the team to find another way to express support for law enforcement.
In a recent Facebook post, local resident Duncan Mandel asked users to insist that the William S. Hart Union High School District immediately stop the use of what he called the “Blue Lives” flag on campuses and at school events.
“There is absolutely no reason for this image to be carried out onto the field by players or used on cheer blocks,” the post read. “Get loud. What message are we sending to our kids if we sit back and allow this divisiveness to continue. Do something! This is simply not a First Amendment issue.”
In contrast to Mandel’s statement, Jared Livingston, a Saugus resident and a fan of Saugus High football, told The Signal that people in the area have a great appreciation for law enforcement, particularly after the Saugus High shooting in 2019.
“I realize we live in an era where we can define things and kind of come up with whatever, but that flag has been around for a long time and it represents — it’s paying honor to the fallen. It’s a thing of honor. It has nothing to do with anything political.”
In fact, according to website founder Andrew Jacob told Politico in an article published in June 2020.
“The flag has no association with racism, hatred, bigotry. It’s a flag to show support for law enforcement — no politics involved,” Jacob said.
According to AWM, at first, the football team listened to orders. They ran out onto the field during their first game of the season without the thin blue line flag, just as the superintendent directed them to do.
However, some fans in the audience noticed that the flag was missing and started to ask questions.
In response to the ban, many fans and families of players waved the thin blue line flag from the football stadium seats to show their continued support of the local police department.
Watch the video report below for more details: