California Assistant Principal Apologizes After Posing With Trump 2024 Flag

An assistant principal at a California high school has apologized after she was asked by a student to hold a flag of support for former President Donald Trump for a photo that was posted online.

The controversy at Royal High School in Simi Valley started on Wednesday when the administrator, Debbie Broberg, was pictured with a student holding a "Trump 2024, Take America Back," flag.

One unnamed parent with children at the school told Fox 11 that she thought the photo "was pretty wrong."

She said that "even the American government class at the school doesn't discuss current elections because they know it can be polarizing and cause hostility."

However, Simi Valley Unified School District spokesperson Jake Finch told Newsweek that Broberg was not making any political statement and had posed with the flag to support the student.

On Thursday, a student brought a Trump flag again into lunch and another student brought in a Mexico flag. Amid concern over growing tension from the day before, both students were asked to put the flags away and they both agreed, Finch said.

Donald Trump flag
Supporters of ex-President Donald Trump hold a flag in his support in this illustrative image at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida on September 11, 2021. A school administrator in California was criticized for holding the flag on campus. CHANDAN KHANNA/Getty

The incident sparked a conversation about policy and the need to be politically neutral on campus.

"We have an incredibly diverse student body if you are not neutral in your approach when you are working with kids you have to be neutral or else it will alienate students," she told Newsweek.

A statement issued earlier by Finch said that the school district had expected its employees to be "politically neutral" and Finch said that Broberg was holding not waving the flag in the image.

"A student asked her to hold it and then took the picture and posted it," she said in her statement.

"Mrs. Broberg freely and sincerely apologized to the school's staff and students about this incident," the statement added: "She was not trying to make a political statement and she is deeply sorry and very concerned about any conflict that has arisen from it."

The school district said that it would look at what needed to be done "to ensure that it doesn't happen again with any political flag."

This week, a Black student at a school in Princeton, North Carolina, said she was taunted by white students displaying Trump 2024 and Blue Lives Matter flags in front of her.

Brooklyn Edwards, a 15-year-old sophomore, told ABC 11 the incident at Princeton High School in Johnston County was part of a spike in racially motivated bullying on the campus.

The network showed a video of the flags being brandished by students in the school's gymnasium.

Johnston County Public School told the network that while it "would not comment on specific events regarding student discipline...it did not take "any bullying or harassment incidents lightly."

Update 10/23/21 12:50 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with a response to Newsweek by Simi Valley Unified School District.