On Monday, a substitute teacher in Grass Valley, California, upbraided a 13-year-old student for wearing a mask with the image of the “Thin Blue Line” flag, telling the boy, “That’s not the American flag; that’s the new confederacy flag.”
The blue line on the “Thin Blue Line” flag is intended to represent law enforcement, standing between what is above the line, representing citizenry and order, from what is below the line, representing crime and anarchy.
The incident at Lyman Gilmore Middle School was filmed on cellphones by multiple students, Sacramento CBS reported. Fox40 reports that the student, Lucas Lillar, “said he wears [the mask] to support his father, who is a police officer.”
A substitute teacher was caught on video yelling at a 13 yr old student over his thin blue line mask saying “that’s the new confederacy flag” pic.twitter.com/M4Polx6AXI
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) February 3, 2022
When Lillar was asked how it felt to be the child of law enforcement workers, he replied, “It just makes me feel worried.”
In August 2020, the Department of California Highway Patrol issued a roll call briefing document stating that officers were barred from displaying Thin Blue Line items. The memo stated, “All ‘Thin Blue Line’ paraphernalia, including anything resembling it, shall be removed immediately. This includes any paraphernalia hung anywhere in the office, stickers/patches on State or personal; property that may be seen by the public during the course of duties, and email signature blocks.”
“A California police officer who reviewed the document said it amounted to an official order because of the use of the word ‘shall,’” Press California reported. The officer stated, “It’s all political so I understand why they sent it out.”
Fran Clader, CHP’s Director of Communications in Sacramento, stated, “The item …
Prior to that, in May 2020, San Francisco police officers who were sent to patrol a protest against the city’s high price of housing wore masks emblazoned with the “Thin Blue Line” flag. But then San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott sent an email to officers warning that although the “Thin Blue Line” flag was “a meaningful expression to honor fallen officers,” others would find it “divisive and disrespectful.” He stated, “Thin Blue Line masks shall not be worn by our on-duty members.”
Scott said the police should wear neutral face coverings from then on, asserting, “As an affirmation of the principle of safety with respect for all, we will replace the personal protective equipment to which some community members have objected.”
The Associated Press noted, “The police union president, Tony Montoya, said the union had shown the masks to Scott’s command staff, and several of them had asked for more than one. The blue line ‘represents law enforcement’s separation of order and chaos,’ he said.”
The San Francisco Examiner reported that prior to Scott’s statement, “When shown a video of a row of officers wearing the face masks, Supervisor Shamann Walton reserved judgment but said, ‘That looks more like something you see below the Mason Dixon Line.’”
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