MORROW, Ohio — Two high school football players in Ohio who were initially suspended from school after they carried Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags at a game on Sept. 11 have been reinstated.
Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley were suspended Friday when they carried the flags onto the field despite being denied permission from the school, according to WKRC.
Williams, who carried the Thin Blue Line flag, said his father is a police officer and he wanted to honor the officers who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11. Bentley carried the Thin Red Line flag that represents fallen firefighters.
According to WHIO-TV, the teens were initially given an indefinite suspension. On Tuesday, the district’s Board of Education said after completing an investigation, it was determined there weren’t any political motivations, but that the students were insubordinate.
“Moving forward, Little Miami is returning the players to active status and this matter will be readdressed as an athletic department code of conduct issue, with any potential consequences to be handled by coaching staff,” according to a message obtained from WHIO-TV from the district’s Board of Education.
“We can’t have students who decide to do something anyway after they’ve been told that they shouldn’t be doing it,” Little Miami Schools Superintendent Gregory Power told WHIO-TV.
Power said when he denied the players carrying the flags, he saw them as symbols of a political point of view and did not want to set a precedent.
“We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” Power said.
Going forward, the only two flags to come through the football tunnel will be those of the United States of America and the Little Miami spirit flag, according to a message from the board.