(from KCRA.com) DENAIR, Calif. — Controversy over the American flag is drawing … members of the American Legion Riders to Stanislaus County [California].
They’re coming to show support for the 13-year-old boy told [by a school supervisor that] he had to stop flying his flag [on his bike] at school. [Some students had complained about the display.]
It’s a story KCRA 3 broke last week that has gained international attention.
Monday morning … members of the American Legion Riders will escort Cody Alicea to Denair Middle School. Beale Air Force Base said it will be sending [a military jet flyover], and [some mothers] are planning [to] walk [their kids to school carrying American flags to show their support.]
“It’s nice that you know there is that many people on your side that stand behind you,” Alicea said.
“Everyone is coming together tomorrow. I think the sleeping giant has been awoken and it’s about time,” said Robert Kisner, Alicea’s stepdad.
“Cody is such a great boy. He is a great American, a great patriot,” said Bill Baker, a member of the American Legion Riders. “We want everybody in America to know they never have to be afraid to fly the American flag, ever.”
Baker and the others rallied around Alicea after the Denair Unified School District told Alicea to take down the American flag waving atop his bicycle on campus.
“I just wanted to support my country,” Alicea said. [“I didn’t really want to make it an issue, I just like flying my country’s flag. I like being patriotic….”]
Kisner called KCRA 3 asking for help last week, and the story gained Alicea international support.
Days later, Superintendent Ed Parraz apologized and told Alicea he could fly his flag once again.
“He’s over whelmed and so am I. I can’t be more proud of him,” Kisner said.
The superintendent said it initially told Alicea to take the flag down for his safety. [Parraz said the campus has recently experienced some racial tension. He said some students got out of hand on Cinco de Mayo.
“Our Hispanic kids…will…bring their Mexican flags and they’ll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don’t really want,” Parraz said. “We want them to appreciate the cultures.”
Parraz said if a disruption arises over a flag, they want it to be taken down to protect the safety of all students.] …[Some students had reportedly complained about Cody’s flag and had apparently made threats. “The last thing we wanted was to deny Cody his rights,” said Parraz speaking about the boy’s wish to fly the American flag.
Parraz said national flags were banned from campus after a Cinco De Mayo incident when tensions escalated between students displaying the Mexican flag and those waving the Stars and Stripes.
“I think it would be irresponsible of us if we kind of shined it on and let him have the flag and he got jumped or something like that and got hurt,” said Parraz. But Alicea said, “I never feel threatened or unsafe while flying the flag.”
Parraz says they have decided to focus on those students who are causing the problem, not the flag and Cody is now allowed to ride onto school campus with Old Glory on the back of his bike. Parraz is aware of the outcry across the nation over this story. He says they embrace the American flag, they are patriotic, but that their main priority is keeping students safe.
Alicea’s family has a long history of military service and he wants to join the Air Force when he is older.]
NOTE: Bracketed additions to this article are from related KCRA.com news stories, and from a Nov. 15 article from KTXL fox40.com.
Copyright 2010 by KCRA.com. All rights reserved. Posted here for educational purposes only. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission from KCRA.com.
1. Why does 13-year-old Cody Alicea fly a small American flag on the back of his bike?
2. Why was Cody told by a school administrator last week that he could not fly the American flag on his bike at school?
3. What happened after Cody’s step-father called the local news station for support?
4. Why did the American Legion riders ride to school with Cody today?
5. How does the school superintendent say they will now address threats by other students over Cody’s display of the American flag?
6. Watch the videos under “Resources” below. What do you think of the way the school administrator handled complaints/threats from some students who were offended by Cody’s American flag? Explain your answer.
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