Lafayette High School Proper U.S. Flag Etiquette Addressed

For anyone who noticed the U.S. flag at Lafayette High School in Wildwood has been standing in the dark lately, the issue was resolved after a district resident pointed out the matter this week on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

Proper American flag etiquette requires any flag pole to be illuminated at nighttime. It is more customary to fly U.S. flags from sunrise to sunset. Nightly viewing of U.S. flags usually have dedicated spotlights on them.

When a Wildwood resident noticed the U.S. flagpole unlit at track around the football field, he said he notified Superintendent Bruce Borchers as well as Lafayette High principal John Shaughnessy.

Lafayette School officials assessed the flagpole situation, and discovered the timing system for the lights was incorrectly set for continual nighttime usage.

"Recently, it was brought to our attention that the lighting on the flag pole was not working," said Shaughnessy. "Our custodial staff reset the timing system on the stadium flag pole, and it is now correctly operating during the night."

He said the school's flagpole in front of school has a dusk-to-dawn system located on the roof, and the flag pole in the stadium is on a timing system. "Both lighting systems provide the necessary light to illuminate the flag when it is on the flag pole at night. If there are occasions where the flag is on the pole at night, and it is not illuminated, the cause is either the light timing system is not operating on the correct time set or the light bulbs are burnt out."

resident Paul Huensch submitted a letter to Borchers through the district's online email address Ask The Supt, which follows:

It's 9/11. A time for the nation to remember those we lost and an innocence we may never recapture. It is a day, of all days, that we should show respect to the flag. So how is Lafayette showing their respect? A look at your football flagpole in the dark hours when our flag should be illuminated shows the Rockwood School District's continued disregard for our nation's flag and established proper flag etiquette.

Even though you were notified on many previous occasions, Shaughnessy and this school district, of which you are in charge, opted to not give a damn about showing proper flag respect. Please see attached photos I took this morning about 4:15 AM.

Dr. Borchers, you and Mr. Shaughnessy know what proper flag etiquette is, yet you refuse to do anything about the lack of respect shown by this school district at Lafayette. Is this a situation you would like the students to learn from their leaders and mentors? Despite it being very early in the morning, there was another gentlemen walking the track. Would you like to know what he said in passing? He saw I was taking pictures and decided to comment that:  "It would be nice if they would have it lit."

Obviously, someone besides me knows that a flag left out 24/7 should be illuminated. At taxpayer expense you have a big, fancy timed lighting system, but no one has taken the time to set it correctly. The lights are on at times when there is no flag displayed. That is in of itself another story of taxpayer funds being wasted. If Mr. Shaughnessy and ultimately you cannot display the flag properly, just do not display it at all. 

Of course that would be difficult as the citizens of the community expect to see that flag at functions at the field location. However, don't you think citizens expect Rockwood School District, of all places, to know how to show the proper respect for our nation's flag? 

Strange, all the taxpayer funds you guys spent sprucing up that football field and you cannot take the time to show proper respect for our flag. Technology and devices meant to alleviate the human involvement and that "personal" touch does no good when you don't care. Well, too bad, Dr. Borchers, many of us do. It is this cavalier and arrogant attitude of ignoring patrons of the school district that lost you and the board the bond issue in April. Non-response (to issues), such as this, is one of the reasons this school district needs a public relations firm.

I am sure it was probably students who lined Clayton Road and the Lafayette entry with flags (for Sept. 11). Strange, you can get students to perform a patriotic act, but adults showing respect to the flag appears to be beyond your grasp.

In the long run, it comes down to what is right and wrong. It is that simple, and yet this school district's actions, show that proper respect for the flag is a minor issue. I am sure many veterans' groups and other members of the community might find your lack of respect appalling and disgraceful. What lesson is it you and Shaughnessy are imparting to our youth? Would you like to go in front of your students and citizens of this community and explain to them why, even after being informed, you did not correct and purposely ignored following proper flag etiquette?  

So ask yourself one question:  Is the way you are displaying the flag at Lafayette right or wrong? It should be embarrassing to you that of all days, 9/11, Lafayette High School is showing such disrespect for our flag.

Either you do not care or Shaughnessy is ignoring your directives. But then again, maybe I should not be concerned about such a minor issue. Remember this hypocrisy the next time you say a pledge at a school function. Like the RSD's Mission it all just appears to be a bunch of words. Of all days Dr. Borchers, of all days.

Jay Buck September 15, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Pardon me for posting this so late, but I just returned from Babler State Park where 20 members of the Lafayette Key Club volunteered their time to help maintain the Woodbine Trail. For those not familiar with this organization, Key Clubs work to provide community service and are sponsored by the Kiwanis International. Last year the LHS Key Club raised $1660 for the Joshua Chamberlain Society, which provides assistance to disabled veterans of the war on terror. We have also raised money for Honor Flights, a group that helps arrange transportation to Washington, DC for World War II vets to visit the WW2 memorial. In the last three years, the LHS Key Club has also given $1500 to Backstoppers. There are many other organizations that emphasize character education at LHS, such as the Naval JROTC ( two of their members have died serving their country), the National Honor Society, Student Council, the FCA, and so on. Although I have on occasions butted heads with Mr. Shaughnessy, he has shown steadfast support and encouragement in promoting character education for our students. For you to suggest that he is somehow unpatriotic and un-American is one of the most scurrilous comments that could be made. I also believe that the vast majority of our community will continue to provide positive support for the good work that is being done by our young people.
John September 15, 2012 at 08:07 PM
That man who wrote that letter needs to calm down. A friendly, informative letter would of been more than enough.


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