Teens Deface American Flag for Senior ‘Prank,’ Get Taught Hard Lesson by Veterans

A group of students at Heard County High School in Georgia took their senior prank too far this year, defacing an American flag with black spray paint that read, “SENIOR 2K18.”

The students didn’t stop to think about how important and sacred of a symbol the U.S. flag is to many Americans, especially military veterans.

In a statement provided to 11Alive, the school were “disrespectful” to the American flag and “our country” with there prank:

“It has been the practice at HCHS for Seniors to participate in SR Pranks and as long as there is no vandalism or damage to property we usually handle it with a grain of salt, have them clean it up, and move on. In fact, most times the SRs tell administrators about the prank beforehand. This morning, the SR prank met those requirements, but clearly crossed the line by using the American Flag in the prank. Our students did not intend to be disrespectful or insult the flag or our country, but that is indeed what happened.

We share the same emotion and passion that our community does for the American Flag. We have identified the students and consequences have been assigned. More importantly than the consequences assigned, we had a group of local veterans come and speak to these students about what the flag truly represents because, despite the initial anger and outrage, we want to use this as a teachable moment for our students.Statement provided by Heard County High School Principal, Brent Tisdale”

When the principal, Brent Tisdale, said he wanted to make it a “teachable moment,” he wasn’t kidding. He came up with a special idea to teach the kids a lesson in respect.

A group of local veterans agreed to speak to the students about the importance of the flag.

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“We talked about how we chose to voluntarily defend the flag and their right to do what they did to it, as well as family and friends and loved ones who come home underneath that flag,” one of the veterans, Nikki Culpepper told FOX5.

Culpepper said the message really got through to them and “two of the young people had tears in their eyes, shook our hands and apologized.”

That was enough for Principal Tisdale.

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“They understand what they did was wrong. The intent was not to be disrespectful, but they understand how it was perceived that way,” he added.

It was a very important life lesson for the young kids.