x
Breaking News
More () »

Rockwood School District changes Eureka HS baseball team's hats over 'Thin Blue Line' flag

The district said the use of the flag on the hats violated district, state and national policies on high school sports

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Rockwood School District removed the Eureka High School baseball teams hats that displayed the "Thin Blue Line" flag, saying it is a political symbol and its use violated district, state and national policies on high school sports.

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Mark Miles said the move was not to diminish "our support and appreciation for police and all first responders," but to ensure a community of inclusion.

"Any political or potentially divisive symbol has no place on our uniforms," Superintendent Mark Miles said in a letter to parents.

The "Thin Blue Line" flag is a black-and-white American flag with one blue stripe that is meant to stand for support and solidarity with law enforcement officers.

In his letter, Miles said the district recognized "that the thin blue line represents different things to different people, based upon an individual’s perspective and their unique experiences with law enforcement."

The letter said the district will review the uniform purchasing process at all schools in the district.

Read the full letter below:

Good Evening,

As you know, we are committed to fostering an atmosphere that respects and values every individual within our Rockwood community. I have heard from a number of parents and community members regarding the decision to remove baseball caps at Eureka High School that display a thin blue line flag. We are obligated as a public entity to refrain from advocating for any particular political group or cause, and having any type of political symbol on our uniforms violates district, state and National Federation of State High School Associations policies.

As we shared with members of the Eureka team and their parents, by following these policies, we are not diminishing our support and appreciation for police and all first responders. The Rockwood School District absolutely supports the men and women who are our partners in law enforcement. They are our parents, staff, spouses and community members who put their lives on the line for us every day. We also recognize that the thin blue line represents different things to different people, based upon an individual’s perspective and their unique experiences with law enforcement. Any political or potentially divisive symbol has no place on our uniforms. I assure you that we are reviewing our processes related to the purchase of sports uniforms at all of our schools.

The Rockwood School District is committed to fostering a culture of belonging. We continue to review the district’s policies, practices and systems with an equitable and inclusive lens. The goal of this work is to improve awareness and develop specific strategies that will enable us to move forward effectively and authentically as we strive to meet the needs of all students.

It is important for us to use this situation as a learning opportunity to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue and to grow stronger as a school district and as a community. As adults, our students are looking to us to set an example and advocate for a welcoming environment for all perspectives. Extending respect, compassion and dignity toward all human beings should be our focus. Thank you for your continued partnership in support of all of our students.

Sincerely,
Mark T. Miles, Ph.D.
Superintendent

The school district also emailed a statement to 5 On Your Side Wednesday morning. You can read the full statement below:

The Rockwood School District is committed to fostering an atmosphere that respects and values every individual within our school community. We are also obligated as a public entity to refrain from advocating for any particular special-interest group. Having a political symbol of any kind on our uniforms is a violation of district, state and NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) policies. Our adherence to those rules does not diminish the district’s support and appreciation for police and all first responders. The Rockwood School District absolutely supports the men and women who are our partners in law enforcement. They are our parents, staff, spouses and community members who put their lives on the line for us every day. We also recognize that the thin blue line represents different things to different people, based on a perspective that is unique to their own experiences with law enforcement.

The Rockwood School District is committed to an atmosphere that respects and values every student and every individual within our school community. It is our hope that the community will understand both our obligation to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students and our dedication to handling this situation in keeping with school and district policy.