GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — A “thin blue line” flag displayed in a window at the Greece Central School District’s Odyssey Academy is the subject of controversy within the community.
Some argue the flag, a black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe in the middle, has become a racist symbol; others believe the flag represents support for officers.
The school’s principal penned a letter to the school community, saying the flag caused people to feel uncomfortable.
“We understand that this situation caused harm and we are committed to doing the work to repair that harm,” the letter read in-part.
At a Greece CSD board meeting Tuesday, supporters and opponents of the flag weighed in during the meeting’s resident comment section.
“Black students said the flag makes them feel unsafe,” said one speaker, “we need to listen to them and respect their voices.”
“Since when did we start condemning the police officers, and turn them into villains?” asked another speaker.
“When I saw that, I was very upset,” said Jenna Curcio, a Greece Town Board candidate, in an interview with News 8.
Curcio commented at Tuesday’s meeting, advocating anti-racist training within the district.
“I was very disappointed, because I knew what that symbolism would mean to the students of color in that school,” Curcio added.
The flag is seen by others as a symbol of support for police officers who put their lives on the line.
“It’s very symbolic to us in law enforcement in that it blends the United States flag with representation of law enforcement,” said David Simpson, a retired RPD investigator and a parent in another suburb.
Simpson told News 8 those in law enforcement see the flag as apolitical — supporting the U.S. and police.
“I wholeheartedly think it should be in schools,” Simpson continued. “And I think it’s a great thing for children to see in schools, and be educated on what it means.”
News 8 reached out to the district for further comment and has not heard back yet.