A group of North High School students brought a Nazi flag to campus and flew it around the quad Thursday, apparently as a protest against a school policy that allows display of the gay pride "rainbow" flag, according to multiple sources.
The students posted a photo of themselves with the flag bearing a swastika and iron cross — a version known as the Kriegsmarine war ensign — on Facebook in a group student Silas Edward created Thursday called “Edgy Boi Memes.” The caption reads “pranked the school." The Californian could only identify one student in the photo — Silas Edward.
Principal Mark Balch said the entire incident, which took place four days before Memorial Day, was very brief and disputed the claim that students ran the flag through the quad. It was performed on a dare during lunch period, he said. He wouldn't discuss how the students, who are juniors, were being disciplined, but said it was "being handled."
"They dared a kid to grab a flag and security pulled him in and said, 'What are you doing?' And then we just dealt with it," Balch said.
In Facebook comments posted Friday, student Joseph Lloyd Glover, who seemed to be involved in the prank, said it was "for joking and ironic purposes." He was unapologetic about the incident.
"You guys are trying to like make us feel bad or something for the flag but like we really do not care at all not one bit," Glover wrote. "Get mad and offended though I guess it only makes us laugh more."
Silas said on Facebook Thursday evening that North High, presumably by stopping him, was “challenging his rights as an American" because the school website claims to protect ethnicity, ancestry and national origin.
“But they let people wear the gay flag to school (which) (by the way) many religions find vulgar and offensive,” Silas wrote in response to a comment made by his friend, Glover.
The Californian could not immediately confirm whether any North students had in fact worn clothing to school depicting the gay pride flag.
Glover also attacked the religion of Islam on Facebook, saying that gay pride flags are allowed that bear the Islam symbol, “even though they are literally killing gays and chopping their heads off, but you bring a flag with a swazi and all of a sudden it's the end of the world.”
Student Jaared Rolaand responded: “Silas, much respect.”
The Californian could not confirm whether such a flag was ever displayed on the North campus.
Glover later criticized North High directly, saying that “either all flags should be allowed or no flags should be allowed.”
Other friends chimed in with memes that read “free the flag.” Student Joey Seybert responded to the Nazi flag photo with an emoji holding a flag bearing a swastika.
Justin Brooks, a faculty adviser to the Gay-Straight Alliance at East Bakersfield High School, said he was saddened by the flag display. When things like this happen, Brooks said, he counsels his students to react peacefully.
“That situation makes me extremely sad that it would happen, but things like that happen all the time,” Brooks said, pointing to a student at Highland High School who wore a Ku Klux Klan hood to school earlier this year and was disciplined.
“I think it’s probably just a misdirected student who’s not been educated,” Brooke said of Edward.