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Monday, September 26, 2022

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Bayport-Blue Point School District Policy Change Prompts Concern


District policy 1915 was amended during a routine school board meeting of the Bayport-Blue Point School District on August 23. 

While it hardly sounds like an exciting affair,the policy governs the district’s relationship with displaying the flag of the United States of America.

 Up until August 23, the statement read as follows: “The Board of Education believes that the flag of the United States is a symbol of the values of our nation, the ideals embedded in our Constitution and the spirit that should animate our School District.”

It served, in a sense, as a preamble to all policies regarding the flag. 

After August 23, the statement was nowhere to be found throughout the document. 

The motion to remove the language was made by newly elected Sandi Kanne and was supported by Michael Miller,John Kroog, Andrienne Cironeand Jessica Pignataro. Kanne, Kroog and Pignataro were elected in the 2022school board elections with the support of the Bayport-Blue Point Teachers Association, a New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) member. 

In total, five of the seven members supported the motion, with NYSUT endorsed members on both sides of the issue. 

The regional NYSUT office,as well as the Bayport-Blue Point Teachers Association, was not available for comment, although local officials and some Facebook groups were ripe with opinions on the matter. 

“The fact that they would even contemplate striking this language, that any school board would consider striking this language, is disgusting, un-American,and all five of those people should be removed or at least defeated in the next election,” stated Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick.“This is a cancer that cannot be allowed to metastases.”

“Why wouldn’t you promote the ideals of the United States of America,” added the assemblyman.“We are not a perfect country, but we are the least imperfect of all of them. It boggles the mind that they would even consider doing something like this. This is progressivism at the words.”

Likewise, members of local “moms” Facebook groups were mostly upset at the language change. 

The language also removed the district’s adherence to flying the flag at half staff when a personage of great importance dies. 

When asked about both changes, Michael Miller, Bayport-Blue Point Board of Education president,released the following statement:

“In regards to policy 1915, this policy outlines the procedures for when and how the flag should be displayed, the edits adopted removed any language referencing a Board of Education members’ “beliefs,” as the policy is directive in nature and not subject to any individual desire. This in no way was intended to show disrespect for the nation’s symbol nor what it symbolizes for our country. We will continue to display and honor the American flag. We apologize for the unintended impression left by the edits to the policy. 

In the near future, I will speak with my fellow Board members about revisiting the introductory paragraph to insure that it factually represents our original intention and continues to honor our country and flag.”

The statement released appears to solely regard the removal of the preamble, leaving the reasoning behind the other policy change unanswered.

Brian R. Monahan
Brian R. Monahan
Staff Writer for The Messenger Papers.