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Colorado lawmakers urge schools to ban flag desecration

By The Associated Press


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DENVER — Angry members of the Colorado House called on schools to ban desecration of the U.S. flag after learning a Littleton High School student had pinned one to her backside days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Men and women have died for that flag," said Rep. Frana Mace, D-Denver. "For someone to sew it to their bottom is disgusting, disrespectful, and should not be allowed in public schools."

The House on Sept. 4 passed a resolution asking school districts to ban flag desecration, but it did not require them to.

Littleton school officials said they ordered the girl to remove the flag because it had vulgar language on it, a violation of school policy.

"When anything gets disruptive, we deal with it," Littleton Public Schools Superintendent Stan Sheer said.

Rep. Lauri Clapp, R-Littleton, who sponsored the resolution, said the issue was flag desecration, not vulgar language.

"I don't know why we would allow something this disgusting," she said.

Student Chris Cogdill said he argued with the girl over the flag. "I told her it was very disrespectful. She argued it was her freedom of speech and expression," he said.

School officials stepped in after the argument and told the girl to remove the flag.

Only six House members voted against the resolution. One, Rep. Peter Groff, D-Denver, said limiting freedom of expression is conceding to terrorists.

"Being an American is tough," he said. "It sometimes means allowing comments, behaviors and actions that make your blood boil."


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Prosecutor says surge of flag-waving since Sept. 11 attacks may have created a new sensitivity to desecration of symbol.  10.02.01

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David Stout has been in Indiana jail since Sept. 30 arrest on misdemeanor charges of flag desecration, resisting law enforcement.  10.09.01

The Flag Desecration Amendment (2001)
Information on the debate over flag desecration, political expression and the First Amendment.  03.21.01