Once news of a high school principal’s unilateral decision to ban the Stars and Stripes from the school’s football stadium hit the internet, online news sources and cable and network news, it was only a matter of time before public outcry forced Travelers Rest High School Principal Lou Lavely to rescind his decision.

In a prepared statement from the South Carolina school district, Superintendent Burke Royster didn’t even call Lavely’s turnabout a reversal, calling it instead, “a different decision” Mr. Lavely reached after “meeting with Travelers Rest student and faculty leadership, and with the benefit of time to reflect.”

In fact, social media posts that showed several students being turned away from the stadium on Friday night, and a student talking with police at the entry gate.

The police reportedly told the students they would “probably win” if they took the school and the principal to court, but urged them not to create a scene.

Lavely’s initial action stemmed from an incident last year when some students on the Traveler’s Rest side allegedly yelled “Go home!” at students on the Berea side while waving the American flag.

A spokesman for the school said the principal said, “…in an effort to prevent any potential issue in this rivalry game, [Principal Lavely] decided not to allow students to bring in full-sized American flags,” and confirmed that the students carrying flags were turned away.

It wasn’t just public outrage that changed Lavely’s mind, though.

The statement from the school district revealed that he met with students and honored their request that he not pre-judge them based on the actions of last year’s class.

For his own part, the well-meaning principal said that instead of banning the Stars and Stripes, he would address its misuse – to taunt or harass opponents – and any inappropriate conduct that might take place at future games.

As for Friday night, the Berea Bulldogs beat the Traveler’s Rest Devildogs 30 – 27.

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