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District denies Riverhead teen asked to remove American flag shirt

Danielle Stanchio

A Riverhead High School parent who claims her stepson was asked to remove a shirt featuring an American flag and bald eagle that he wore during Spirit Week has alleged that administrators deemed it “racist” and “offensive.”

During Tuesday’s school board meeting, Danielle Stanchio said she heard other students were also asked to remove or cover items of clothing emblazoned with the flag.

“If they’re in America — and they’re going to school and saying the Pledge of Allegiance — why is it asked to be covered up?” she asked.

Superintendent Nancy Carney refuted the allegations, describing the situation as a dress code misunderstanding. She said students wearing bandanas with the American flag on them were asked to take them off because headgear isn’t allowed to be worn on school property.

“We did investigate this greatly,” Ms. Carney said, adding that she’s spoken to numerous concerned parents and students about the incident. “It’s my understanding that no kids were asked to cover T-shirts or take T-shirts off.”

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Photo: Danielle Stanchio says her stepson was told he had to remove a shirt he wore to school with an American Flag on it because it was ‘racist.’ She wore the shirt to Tuesday night’s school board meeting. (Credit: Nicole Smith)