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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) – Two days after the Essex Westford School Board chose to keep the Black Lives Matter flags in schools, the Hiawatha Elementary flag was cut and stolen.

In a letter sent by the school, this is not the first time this has happened. That’s why they keep extra flags handy. As a result, the flag was replaced in just a few hours.

Police said the American flag was left on the ground. “It can be either a misdemeanor or depending on value. It could be a crime, ”said Sgt. John Dunn of the Essex Police Department.

Tuesday’s school board meeting, where they voted 6-3 to keep the flags, was at times heated. Many people were not happy with the decision, saying they did not want political statements made by institutions funded by taxpayers’ money.

“With an incident where the Black Lives Matter flag was stolen or removed from property, there could be an improvement in hate crime added to what the underlying charge of theft would be,” Dunn explained.

Ian VanKirk is a resident of Essex Junction who lives near Hiawatha Primary School. “We’re not too impressed that someone has decided on this,” VanKirk said.

He tells us that his child went to Hiawatha Elementary School and that he is upset by what happened. “The issue of racial inequality has not gone away. It’s a problem that, frankly, the whole problem hasn’t solved with overtime, ”VanKirk said.

Laura Taylor, also a parent of children in Essex Westford School District, said her disagreement with the ruling was not a reason for damaging property. “It sends the message, other than one person is willing to commit a crime to drop a flag, there are pockets of the community that do not respect the decision of the school boards,” Taylor said. “This incident reinforces the fact that there needs to be more discussion in our community about racial inequality.”

The Essex High School Social Union, the organization responsible for installing the flags, has sent us the following statement:

“While we are disappointed with the votes of some board members and horrified and dismayed by the crimes against the flag and our community in Hiawatha, we are ultimately grateful and resolute. We are grateful to the adults who have supported us, the community for raising our voices and the school district for making the right decision and reaffirming that in this community, Black Lives Matter. We are determined to fulfill the commitment to create an anti-racist community and to promote the justice that the flag represents when it flies above us each morning. And we are grateful to our community – our whole community, for coming together under the flag, because everyone who showed up, even those who shouted at us, attacked us and tried to silence us, we only showed that justice and history were on the move. on our side and encouraged us to make our voices heard even louder. With love and determination – EHS Social Justice Union

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact Essex Police.

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