School officials’ decision to ban students from displaying the American Flag at a recent football game is creating controversy in a South Carolina school district.

On Friday, Travelers Rest High School principal Lou Lavely banned students from carrying American flags into a football game against Berega High School, because a lot of students at Berega are Hispanic. Lavely contends the American flag could have been used to taunt those students, WNCN reports.

“Some events at last evening’s football game have resulted in concerns being raised in our community. I am writing to assure that any decisions made regarding American flags being permitted into the game were made in the best interests of all attending the game and in the spirit of patriotism and respect for our flag,” Lavely wrote in response to Facebook backlash about the ban, which turned away several students who came to the game with American flags.

“Any decision to not allow the American flag to be used in an improper ‘taunting,’ unsportsmanlike manner is first and foremost in the interests of promoting the safety and well-being of all in attendance at school events. This decision would be made anytime that the American flag, or any other symbol, sign, cheer, or action on the part of our fans would potentially compromise the safety of all in attendance at a school event.”

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