SALEM, N.H. — Police flags, a version of the American flag with a blue line, are welcome at Salem schools, according to a statement from Superintendent Michael Delahanty.
The statement referenced a viral social media post allegedly from a student who said the school prohibited the display of the flag earlier this week.
"Salem High School thinks I'm racist," the post by an unnamed student starts.
“I was called down to the dean today to talk about my flags. I run a police lives matter flag for my retired mom and are (sic) fallen officers,” the student wrote in an Instagram post. “They said it offends black people and represents white power and anyone who flys (sic) the flag knows that is not true.”
The post was shared and commented on hundreds of times on social media, attracting negative comments about the district's attitude toward a symbol of respect for police officers.
The Eagle-Tribune saw the post as a screenshot and could not confirm who posted it, because the username was erased.
Multiple posts with the screenshot were deleted from Facebook pages after Delahanty wrote a statement to parents that contradicted the student’s original post.
Delahanty did not name the student.
“A high school administrator spoke with the student about the purpose of the flag or a combination of flags and told the student that the school wants to avoid insensitive representations,” Delahanty wrote in an email to parents.
“The student explained the flag’s purpose as respecting and honoring police officers, and that should have been the end of it. Nevertheless, the student understood that he was being told not to have the flag attached to the rear of his vehicle and reported this to his parents and others. Subsequently, the story has transformed into something sinister.
"The high school principal spoke with the student’s parents as well as the student. I don’t know how this misunderstanding developed, but the student is allowed to fly this flag of respect on school district property as has been the case for several days."
The superintendent declined to comment further.
The student could not be reached for comment.