In light of the horrific rapes, murders, and kidnappings of innocent Israeli citizens at the hands of Hamas terrorists, students at Santa Barbara High School in California hoped to participate in Young America’s Foundation’s national “Stand With Israel” initiative by coordinating a display featuring 200 Israeli flags to be planted on school grounds.
Unfortunately, Natalie Spevak, assistant principal of Santa Barbara High School, told Young Americans for Freedom Chairman Milan Jegottka in an email that paying tribute to the victims of Hamas “could be potentially disruptive.”
According to Jegottka, the assistant principal was initially supportive of the proposal, but when it was handed off to the principal’s office for final approval, plans fell through.
Principal Fred Razo expressed in a meeting with the YAF chairman that some students may support Hamas, and that putting up Israeli flags could potentially cause them to feel uncomfortable and “send shock waves into the media.”
While both administrators indicated to Jegottka that they personally side with Israel, they feel that the tribute display could be interpreted as speaking on behalf of the entire student body and district community.
The student met with administrators to ask if they would reconsider their decision if the YAF chapter prominently placed a disclaimer sign next to the display stating that it represents the views of the YAF chapter; not necessarily those of the student body, administration, or community.
The administration declined the very reasonable request, countering with a suggestion, according to Jegottka, that the students wear arm bands with the Israeli flag instead. The administration’s suggestion, of course, sounds eerily similar to the identifying badges that Nazi leaders forced Jewish people to wear during the Holocaust.
Young America’s Foundation is actively working to support the chapter’s right to free speech and expression on campus and challenge these administrative roadblocks.
The New Guard reached out to the principal, assistant principal, and superintendent asking why the chapter’s proposal to include a disclaimer sign was denied, and whether the administrators who suggested the arm band idea are aware of European history in the 1930s and 40s, but did not receive a response. This article will be updated accordingly.