News Bite

‘Betsy Ross’ Flags, Used At Biden Inaugural, Signaled ‘Exclusion And Hate’ at Michigan School Game

At President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, five flags hung in the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol. Two of them were U.S. flags of the Betsy Ross style, with stars arranged in a circle.

When some Michigan students displayed the same flag at a high school football game in 2016, they triggered their district’s superintendent into publishing an open letter of apology. He said the flags had injected hate and hostility into a school event.

After the game, Forest Hills Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Behm wrote a “letter to the community.” In it, he said that “to some,” the historical version of the flag “symbolizes exclusion and hate, (and) injects hostility and confusion to an event where no one intended to do so.”

Behm added an apology in the letter: “To our gracious hosts — the students, families, staff, and community of Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills High School and Grand Rapids Public Schools — and to the student-athletes, coaches, officials, and supporters of both teams, we are truly sorry. These actions are not characteristic of our schools, our staff, our students, or our community, and they represent a lack of knowledge.”

Forest Hills Public Schools said the students wouldn’t be disciplined for the Betsy Ross flag and the event “will be used as a teachable moment.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.