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An Ohio school district is banning “thin blue line” flags after a high school football player carried one onto the field to honor local first responders, including a coach who is also a police officer.

“This display will not be a part of future pre-game activities at Chardon athletic contests,” Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Michael P. Hanlon Jr. wrote in a statement Monday. “In addition, measures will be put in place by our athletic director to review any planned pre-game displays for possible connections to any form of discrimination or particular political views.”

After the game last Friday, members of the community stirred up a debate over whether the display was an innocent move in support of local first responders or of it had racial connotations, prompting some residents to reach out to district administrators directly, according to Hanlon.

He said that running out onto the field with the flag “could be interpreted as a racially motivated action” and he also noted that district policy “does not permit engagement in political activity.”

Hanlon also acknowledged the schools’ close ties with first responders after a shooting at Chardon High School eight years ago left three students dead and injured two, including one who became paralyzed.

An Ohio school district is banning “thin blue line” flags after a high school football player carried one onto the field to honor local first responders, including a coach who is also a police officer. (iStock)

“It does not appear that this action was motivated by racism, rather a show of support for one of our coaches who serves as a police officer, as well as for the first responders in our community who have developed a special relationship with our school and students in the wake of our school tragedy of February 27, 2012,” Hanlon wrote.

Frank Hall, a former assistant football coach and teacher at the school, received national praise after he charged at the gunman and later prayed with the victims. Days after the shooting, he pushed back at the attention and said the real heroes were the emergency responders who rushed to the scene.

“I only wish I could have done more,” he said in 2012. “I’m not a hero. Just a football coach and a study hall teacher.”

The shooter, T.J. Lane, was 17 years old at the time. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Hall is credited with chasing him away and potentially saving more students from the gunfire.

In response to the district’s move to ban the flag, Geauga County Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri demanded Hanlon’s resignation, according to Cleveland-based 19 News.

“Your letter sickens me and so many others that have reached out to me and expressed the same disgust with your inability to stand up and recognize their patriotism,” Spidalieri wrote in reference to the players who ran out alongside the flag.

Author: Michael Ruiz

Source: Fox News: Ohio school district bans ‘thin blue line’ flags after football player carried one to honor coach

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration in his state due to “extensive fire damage” and other destruction in the unrest that followed George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.

“We need to come together to ensure Minnesotans who were victims of this destruction have access to critical infrastructure they need so they can go to the grocery store, pick up their medication, and live their lives,” Walz said in a statement Thursday. “Together, we will rebuild.”

A man poses for photos in front of a fire at an AutoZone store, while protesters hold a rally for George Floyd in Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Violent protests over the death of the black man in police custody broke out in Minneapolis for a second straight night Wednesday, with protesters in a standoff with officers outside a police precinct and looting of nearby stores. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP)

He also appealed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for financial assistance to help cover the cost of debris removal, emergency measures and damage to public buildings and equipment.

“We’re asking our federal partners to step up and help our communities recover,” he said.

Walz’s office estimates the cost of the damage to more than 1,500 businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul at over $500 million.

In this Wednesday, May 27, 2020 photo, a looter uses a claw hammer as he tries to break in to a cash register at a Target store in Minneapolis. Rioters ignited fires and looted stores all over the city, as peaceful protests turned increasingly violent in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

Fires caused at least $15 million in damages to public infrastructure that Walz’s office said it could be eligible to receive reimbursement from the federal government.

“We are committed to helping our communities rebuild, but we can’t do this on our own,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “While state, tribal, and local budgets are stretched thin by COVID-19, we need everyone to step up, including the federal government, to restore safety and critical infrastructure to our communities.”

The governor’s office said it has fully mobilized the Minnesota National Guard for the first time since World War II to restore order after protests over Floyd’s death devolved into chaos.

Looting and rioting at times left businesses and vehicles engulfed in flames and the police department’s Third Precinct building torched and abandoned.

The violence has subsided, but federal prosecutors have filed a slew of charges against arson suspects and continue to seek to identify more persons of interest.

Four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and criminally charged in connection with Floyd’s death.

Author: Michael Ruiz

Source: Fox News: Minnesota Gov. Walz asks Trump for disaster declaration after George Floyd riots trigger over $500M in damages

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