SPOKANE, Wash. — Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane recently rejected a student's senior photo where the American flag was "used as a prop," according to a message from the principal.
Sierra Athos, a senior at Lewis and Clark, wrote in a Facebook message to KREM that she was "excited to submit her patriotic pictures" and later received an email that her photo submission had been rejected because of the American flag.
Athos provided a screenshot of an email from the high school's yearbook department where she was told to submit a photo that did not contain a prop.
"This year is already crappy enough because there is no prom, no homecoming, no dances, no in-person classes, no sports games, no seeing my friends everyday, no any normal high school things. I at least wanted my senior picture of choice in the yearbook, but apparently that was too much to ask," she wrote in her message to KREM.
In a message posted to Lewis and Clark's Facebook page, Principal Marybeth Smith said the school does not and has not "banned the American flag from inclusion in photos."
The school rejected a photo this year in which the American flag was displayed in a way not sanctioned by Title Four, US Code, Chapter One, Smith wrote.
"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," she added.
Smith's full message is as follows:
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.