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Texas Student Wins Fight To Carry Palestinian Flag At Graduation

Palestinian high school student Malak Abdallahi takes pride in her heritage. So when her school administrators told her she could not carry the Palestinian flag at her graduation ceremony, she was not about to take no for an answer.

This absolutely fascinating story comes via the good folks at Electronic Intifada.

Abdallahi attends Fossil Ridge High school near Fort Worth, Texas. It is school tradition for graduating students from the school to carry their nation’s flag during the graduation ceremony. Naturally, Abdallahi wanted to carry her Palestinian flag.

She went to school Vice President Buddy Read to tell him what flag should be ordered for the ceremony. Read said that getting a Palestinian flag for Abdallahi should be no problem. But Read’s decision did not last for long.

A few days later, Read called Abdallahi back into his office to deliver some news. School staff had decided they were uncomfortable with the idea of a Palestinian flag being carried at the ceremony and cited fears that some ceremony attendees might have been uncomfortable with the flag.

Word of the board’s decision quickly spread around the school, and numerous other teachers came forward in support of Abdallahi.

Abdallahi decided she would challenge the school’s decision by meeting directly with the principal. After trying unsuccessfully to schedule a meeting, she emailed him. The principal, David Hadley, agreed to meet with her the next day.

Hadley told Abdallahi that the school administration had met earlier that day. One faculty member in particular was opposed to Abdallahi carrying the Palestinian flag. The unnamed member said that their opinion reflected the United States refusal to recognize Palestine as a sovereign nation.

Abdallahi was ready to shoot down Hadley’s reasoning. She told him that U.S. foreign policy should not determine which students are allowed to carry their countries flag, and that students from any background deserve equal treatment. She then rebuffed the objecting faculty member’s view saying that her freedom of self-expression should not be limited by one person’s intolerant views.

Abdallahi won the principal over.

Though it might seem small, Abdallahi’s case is just one example of the struggles Palestinians face every day in their fight for recognition as a sovereign state. 

Source: Electronic Intifada


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