More than 8 years ago, police officers were instrumental in apprehending a school shooter at Chardon High School who killed 3 students and wounded 3 others. The morning of the incident, Ohio Governor John Kasich (who spoke at the 2020 Democrat National Convention as a ‘Republican for Biden’), praised the Chardon Police and the Geauga County Sheriff’s office for their handling of the incident.
The police arrested 17-year old Thomas M. “T. J.” Lane III near the school. Lane was later indicted on three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated attempted murder, and one count of felonious assault, receiving three life sentences without parole.
Police were on the scene, actively investigating. They recovered the gun at the school. They also interviewed the suspect and learned that Lane did not know the victims.
On Friday, August 28, 2020, at the Chardon High School football game, students carried a thin blue line version of the American Flag onto the field before the game. (The flag was not ‘flown’ or run up a flagpole.) The student who carried the flag was honoring local first responders, including a coach who is also a police officer. On August 31, 2020, Superintendent Michael P. Hanlong, Ph.D., of Ohio’s Chardon Local Schools (the district including Chardon High School where the 2012 shooting took place) issued a statement banning any display of the thin blue line version of the American flag in Chardon Local Schools (as reported by the Kansas City Star).
This decision comes less than a month following a decision by the School Board of Essex Westford School District in Vermont on August 6, 2020, to erect Black Lives Matter flags on flag poles at schools across the district. The move was heralded as an expression of solidarity with people of color in their “schools, community and world.” Essex Junction, VT, in which the schools are located, has a population that is 90.3% White and 1.6% Black.
Geauga County in Ohio is 97.8% White and 1.7% Black. Chardon, OH is 95.8% White and 0.8% Black.
Superintendent Hanlon in his statement to the Chardon community said that the thin blue line flag could be “interpreted as a racially-motivated action and, therefore, not acceptable in a school community.” Perhaps someday, Superintendents all across the U.S. will decide that the American flag, too, could also be interpreted as racist. This politically-motivated decision leaves one to imagine a future where in front of every school across America will be two flag poles with no American flag, one BLM flag, and one Antifa flag.