Community outraged after student forced to remove American flag from truck

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DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Parents, students, and even some faculty members in Dinwiddie County are fuming after an administration official asked two students to remove American flags that were flying from trucks.

The flags are flying again after 8News started asking questions, but many are still wondering why it had to even go this far.

Monday night, 8News Investigative Reporter Parker Slaybaugh shared a post on his Facebook Page about Daniel Nunnally Jr., one of the students who was asked to remove the flag from his truck. The post has been viewed by nearly 50,000 people, leaving many outraged at Dinwiddie High School.

But on Tuesday, the administration reversed course and said the flags can stay.

It all started Monday morning — on President’s Day of all days.

“I was in the middle of my 2nd period weight training class and my assistant principal came in and pulled me out of class and told me that I had to go outside to take both flags off my truck so there is no controversy or anything,” Nunnally Jr. explained.

Nunnally Jr. even recorded a video on his cell phone while walking out to remove the flags.

“I kind of started getting angry because what’s the problem with the American Flag? I asked her, ‘is it the don’t tread on me (flag) that you have a problem with? Because I can go take that one down real quick, but she told me both of them,” Nunnally Jr. said.

Nunnally Jr. said he never wanted to cause any trouble and certainly was not trying to be disrespectful, but with plans to possibly join the Army Reserves, retiring the stars and stripes didn’t sit well.

“My entire family fought and died under that flag.” — Daniel Nunnally Sr.

“I understand the confederate flag, if there was a problem with that, but this is the American flag,” Nunnally Jr. said.

As the incident was unfolding on Monday, 8News called the school and was told the flags were to be removed for safety concerns. The administration said they were worried the student could not see out his rear window.

But on Tuesday, the school system changed their tune and said the flags could stay. The principal — unable to go on camera — said he checked with local authorities and found out as long at the truck has two side view mirrors allowing the driver to see behind him, the flags break no laws.

“If it was a road hazard or for the safety of his driving, it would be up to the sheriff’s department,” Nunnally Jr.’s father, Daniel Nunnally Sr., said. “Our local sheriff’s department does a pretty good job out here.”

Both are now thankful that the red the white and the blue can fly once again.

“My entire family fought and died under that flag,” Nunnally Sr. said.

Nunnally Jr. added, “this is something that represents my family and what they fought for.”

After all the buzz Parker’s Facebook post caused Monday night, more than a dozen other students showed up to school Tuesday sporting the American Flag on their cars.

The principal also says he feels like the entire incident was blown out of proportion. When 8News asked him if the assistant principal did in fact say she was worried about the flags causing “controversy,” he just told 8News he wasn’t there at the time of that conversation but doubts she would have said that.

On Tuesday, the ACLU also weighed in, saying this situation is similar to another incident that happened in 2015 at Christiansburg High School.

“The issues are the same. Unless school officials can point to some specific reason to believe the student’s exercise of free speech will cause a major disruption of the school environment or educational process, it is illegal to stifle it. Neither that the speech is potentially controversial nor that they fear it will block the view from his vehicle is sufficient justification for this action.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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