Students Trash 9/11 Flag Tribute After Mistaking It as Display Against Black Lives Matter

Some Florida high school students reportedly trashed a flag display, set on campus as a tribute for 9/11 victims, after deeming it as an offense against Black Lives Matter.

The group of students at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale pulled out the flags and threw them away, thinking that the display was meant to support Blue Lives Matter, Local 10 News reported.

In a statement emailed to Newsweek, Principal Denise Aloma said that a group of students and parents installed blue and red striped flags along the school's walkway in honor of 9/11 first responders, including firefighters and police who died during the 2001 attack.

"An important teaching moment is upon us, and the students involved with the placement and removal of the flags have had the opportunity to express their feelings," Aloma said in the statement. "In addition, each student has been invited to speak to our school's DISC committee (Diversity, Inclusion, Sensitivity Committee) to provide further understanding."

Some students were against dumping the flags in the trash, with one student saying "they disrespected the flag," according to the news outlet.

Another student clarified that this action was done in the belief that "the school was racist for doing that kind of thing when in reality it had nothing to do with race, it had to do with 9/11."

A petition has been launched calling for disciplinary action against the students who trashed the flags, according to Local 10 News.

"The presence of the flags was intended for remembrance only, however, some students felt these flags were not appropriate," said Aloma, according to Local 10 News. "An important teaching moment is upon us and the students involved have had the opportunity to express their feelings. ... In addition, each student has been invited to speak to our school's diversity inclusion sensitivity committee to provide further understanding."

According to Local 10 News, students who informed the school administration of the vandalism act were reportedly accused of being "insensitive to the events that happened over the past year and a half."

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 was remembered this month, there were other cases of people disagreeing with memorials and American flags that were displayed.

Florida students trash 9/11 flag display
A flag display at Fort Lauderdale, Florida's St. Thomas Aquinas High School was destroyed by students who thought the display was against Black Lives Matter, but the school's principal said that the flag display was meant for remembering and honoring the victims who died on September 11, 2001. Pictured, a man touches a flag during the 14th annual Waves of Flags on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks in Alumni Park at Pepperdine University on September 10 in Malibu, California. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

On Saturday, Fadel Alkilani, a Washington University student, removed around 3,000 flags from a campus display that was set to honor 9/11 victims.

A video shared on social media captured Alkilani placing the flags into trash bags. In response, Alkilani said in a statement that he wasn't planning to ditch the flags.

He said that he planned to leave them on a campus field along with information "explaining the human cost of 9/11 in the past 20 years."

Alkilani added that removing the flags was an act of protest because the display didn't acknowledge the Islamophobia in the U.S. that prevailed after the attack and didn't mention the civilian casualties in the Middle East caused by the U.S. military.

Update- 9/17/21 - 2:45 ET - The story was updated to include comments from St. Thomas Aquinas High School principal Denise Aloma.