The past couple days, our phone lines have been jammed and e-mails have poured in from people who wanted to comment on one of our news stories. Our story was even picked up by CNN, USA Today and MSNBC.
Which story was it?
The story of a ban of flag clothing at a local high school. The principal at Hobbton High School in Newton Grove adopted a policy banning students from wearing clothing that features a flag. The ban, as explained to us, was imposed after fights started between students wearing the Confederate flag and other students wearing clothing that featured the flag from their native county.
The ban included clothing with "Old Glory" on it. Students at Hobbton High School were unable to wear clothing displaying the American flag on the sixth anniversary of 9-11.
We interviewed the mother of one high school student who was told she could no longer wear this shirt. Like many of you who contacted us, we think there's something very un-American about the ban.
What bothers us most is not that this decision was made, but the way it was made, solely by the school's principal. That sounds more like a dictatorship than a democracy, and there's nothing American about that.
Only 24 hours after the story aired, Sampson County School Superintendent, Dr. Hobbs, lifted the ban and added that Sampson County School principals must go through the Board of Education to get a dress code rule approved.
We're glad he did.
Such a controversial issue should have been addressed by the elected officials of the Sampson County School Board in open session, where the public was invited to comment.
Wearing flags on clothes will continue to be a delicate issue in some areas and may cause controversy and debate. But allowing for public participation and comment in the decision-making process is what this great country is all about.