A video showing a Ridgeline High School student cutting down an LGBTQ flag during a school diversity celebration on Tuesday is getting wide circulation on social media and generating controversy.
The video shows a student standing along a concourse in the school commons area, where flags from around the world were on display for Diversity Week. The male student then appears to cut or unfasten the flag from the display, and as it drops to the ground, the room fills with loud cheers of fellow students, mixed with a few jeers.
School administrators could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, but the video was being shown and passed around widely on social media, with comments running the gamut.
“Everyone who supported what happened in the commons after school today, I’m ashamed of you,” wrote one student. “Just because you don’t support them (LGBTQ individuals) and aren’t a part of that community, doesn’t give you the right to disrespect them. This is not how Ridgeline students should act, and to my friends who supported taking down of the LGBTQ flag, gain some respect for people’s differences — there are people fighting battles you do NOT know or understand. Let people live their lives and go live your own. We need to all accept everyone for who they are, even if we don’t agree.”
Another student emailed The Herald Journal with this comment and description of what happened:
“I feel attacked, and I know others do too. Today at Ridgeline High School someone was fixing a pride flag that had been flipped over. Some kids started booing when they did this. Another student was trying to keep them from fixing the flag. Then another student came and cut it off ...”
A separate email to the newspaper from a witness stated the individual taking down the flag was clearly using scissors, not a knife as some witnesses claimed.
An initial article about school incident received close to 150 comments on The Herald Journal website and Facebook page overnight, with some people defending the action or comparing it to other types of flag disrespect they contended are worse.
"The American flag represents all our freedoms that allow people to tear it down and burn it. You want them to respect the rainbow flag, then start respecting the American flag," wrote one Facebook commenter.
Ridgeline Principal Brittany Foster did not respond to a phone voicemail on the matter Tuesday night, and it is not known if she was aware of the incident at that time.
Ironically, the flag cutting occurred on the same day Utah State University students illuminated Old Main in rainbow colors as a show of solidarity for LGBTQ students at Brigham Young University, who earlier this year did the same thing to the mountainside "Y" above Provo. They were protesting BYU policies on same-sex relationships.