Letter to the Lynbrook/East Rockaway Editor (March 17-23)


I’m proud of my kids

To the Editor:

(re: “Trump flag spurs some outrage in E.R.,” March 10-16)

My children and nephews were photographed with a Trump flag on Sports Night, and here are the facts.

My kids did not bring any flag of any type to Sports Night. One of my kids was in the large group photo that was taken in the small gym before the event that upset some district parents. He was in the back row and had nothing to do with the display of the flag. He was just another kid in the photo.

The flag was brought into the large gym by other students and was on display for most of the evening. It was “danced” around the gym by multiple students — in full view of the staff, administrators, parents and students — all night long. It has been a long two years without any open events, and apparently everyone forgot the rules on that evening.

At the end of the night, after the students got the results of the competition and swapped jerseys with their sister class and were thanked for being there, my kids decided to take a picture together and to use the flag as a prop in the picture. They did so with a flag that was allowed to be in the school for the whole evening.

While my family was taking a picture with it, another person came running over to jump behind my wife and take the picture as the kids were posing. The unknown person then put the picture into their private group and used it to start the chain of events that led to some backlash from some parents. No one in my family made it their profile picture on Facebook until two days later — well after the kids were “exposed” in a private group, and well after all the threats and admonishment against them had occurred.

On March 5, I posted the picture as my profile photo on Facebook in support of my children and family for the way they had been treated over the past few days. East Rockaway School District Superintendent Lisa Ruiz sent out an email March 4, the day after Class Night, stating that an “incident occurred in the small gym before Sports Night.” Yes, the first large group photo was in the small gym, but that was accepted by the school, and the flag was also used as a prop all night in both the small and big gyms without incident.

It appeared to me that all of the kids, parents and the staff were having a good time and the flag wasn’t an issue. I assumed the administration had no issue with it, since it was on full display all night. Ruiz said she was ill that night and couldn’t attend, but the event was also livestreamed, and she should have watched the first fully open event online at the very least.

Most of us, regardless of political affiliation, work week to week and pay taxes. We have opinions, and there are extremists on both sides of the argument that cause chaos and unrest throughout our great country. But overall, we basically get along.

My kids chose to take a picture with the flag, which is their right as Americans. I am proud that my kids have an opinion on politics.

Frank Passanisi, East Rockaway