Vets speak at BOE meeting about improperly placed flag

DUANESBURG, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After the American flag was seen tossed in a bin on the floor of a local elementary school, some area veterans were outraged.

Veterans gathered at the Duanesburg Board of Education meeting on Tuesday to ask district leaders to take action after a picture shared online showed an American flag carelessly tossed in a bin.

“I was appalled,” veteran April Kellerman said. “I was astonished. I didn’t know what to say. I was speechless.”

Veterans were shocked last Friday when Whitney Kantrowitz was in the Duanesburg Elementary School and took a picture of the flag.

“Doing a movie night, and I happened to be putting away supplies when I saw it sitting there in the hallway,” she said.

Kantrowitz immediately became upset.

“I was disgusted,” she said. “I was so angry to see this.”

Both Kantrowitz and Kellerman posted about the flag online and quickly decided to take their concerns to the school board. The women spoke before school leaders on Tuesday, displayed the picture and asked for change.

“The first time I see this was when you showed this to me before the meeting,” School Board President Kent Sanders said.

Sanders said the district can do better.

“We’ve been saluting the flag here for a long time, and [it’s] something I think is very important and does need to be treated with respect, and we will,” he said.

Superintendent Christine Crowley said the district didn’t know the flag ended up in a bin, nor that people were upset until Tuesday night’s meeting.

“Duanesburg is full of veterans,” she said. “My family is full of veterans. We have employees that are veterans, and no one would want to be disrespectful to the flag.”

She added the district would investigate.

“That’s probably a poor judgment call, and we certainly will look into it and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she said.

While Kellerman and Kantrowitz said the board responded well, they want to make sure the staff and students get the message.

“We’re losing respect across the board,” Kellerman said. “Not just here, but across the nation; we’re losing a lot.”

“I want my daughter – she’s in third grade – to know about the flag and to represent it properly,” Kantrowitz said.

Superintendent Crowley said it’s the custodial staff’s job to raise and lower the flag. The board said they will have their policy committee review the incident. The elementary school principal said there will be more oversight moving forward.

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