The Dallas Morning News
Friday, August 20, 2004

Mexican flag in class stirs uproar, change

Foreign banners in Denver schools must be temporary, relevant

Associated Press

DENVER Criticism over a Mexican flag hung in a classroom has led school officials to create a policy that says the display of foreign banners must be temporary and related to what is being taught in class.

Officials at North High School, where the student population is 84 percent Hispanic, said they received complaints about a photograph in the Rocky Mountain News taken Monday, the first day of school.

The photo showed a Mexican flag displayed in a classroom next to a U.S. flag.

Andrew Fox, who teaches English to Spanish-speaking students, said he wanted his Latino students to feel more welcome.

School Superintendent Jerry Wartgow said some people complained that there should never be any non-U.S. flags displayed in schools.

"It's a school, for God's sake," said Mr. Wartgow. "That's where you study countries."

Other people were upset that the American flag was hung improperly, with the stars on the wrong side.

In response to the complaints, principal Darlene LeDoux removed the Mexican flag and another one displayed in the school's lobby next to a poster of the Statue of Liberty.

The Rocky Mountain News reported Friday that the new guidelines are being written, but that they would protect the display of flags while requiring any such display to be related to the curriculum.

It was unclear whether the display in Mr. Fox's classroom would be acceptable under the new guidelines, a Denver Public Schools spokeswoman said.