A Prince George school employee says the American and Virginia flags are now being stored properly by the school system.
The custodian took photos showing the flags draped over equipment and a box crate in a storage room at a Prince George County school. A second state flag was thrown in a heap and left near cleaning supplies.
The superintendent thinks Debbie Salvatierra's statements are disingenuous, but agreed the problem had to be corrected.
Salvatierra took the photos Saturday inside two cleaning supply closets at North Elementary. She says she didn't sneak to get the pictures. She was working, opened the doors, and there they were.
"It's a supply closet. It's all the custodial chemicals, toilet paper, paper towels. I didn't think that was the proper place to put the American flag," she explained. "We've got service men and women out there fighting for this flag."
Etiquette rules call for the flag to never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
Prince George Assistant Superintendent Shleey Bazemore admitted the flags were not treated properly.
"This one I can understand, because I know that we have had storms and it could possibly be hanging there to dry," Bazemore said. "There's no excuse for these two. Absolutely none.'
She says the actions are uncommon for North Elementary, a school where students and staff have walls of work honoring military men and women and where the principal knows protocol.
The flags have been removed from the supply closets and the principal says the one found below the chemicals was tattered and torn and has since been disposed of properly.
In the office, flags were displayed on top of a cabinet.
"Are we human? Do we make mistakes? Yes, we do. But we need to take our mistakes and correct it, if it's something that we need to correct," said Bazemore.
Tattered flags should be burned in a dignified ceremony. You can call an American Legion hall or scout troop to arrange the service.
The school suspects an employee may have staged some of the pictures. The woman who took the pictures says she did not. She took pictures of what she saw and encourages anyone else to do the same, without fear of retaliation.
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