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(Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

Parents and students at Ardrey Kell High School are getting more information about the football player that carried a “Blue Lives Matter” flag onto the football field at last week’s game.  According to a message from the school’s principal, the player carried the flag to honor Officer Julio Herrera, the school resource officer who recently passed away from COVID-19.

Message to parents from the school: 

“The Ardrey Kell administration has been made aware of the Blue Lives Matter flag being carried onto the field at Friday night’s homecoming game. While the reason for this was that a player, who was a personal friend of Julio Herrera, wanted to honor his life and his family at the game being dedicated to his memory, we also recognize that the meaning behind this flag goes much deeper for some. In no way was the carrying of this flag on Friday night intended to be a political statement or a representation of the greater beliefs of our community, nor any political beliefs of the player carrying it. Instead, the intention was, from one police officer family to another, honoring Officer Herrera. We are deeply sorry for the unintended consequence of how it made some of our school family feel and recognize that we must consider all perspectives when making decisions that impact our families. We will use this situation to further educate our staff and students on how our actions send multiple messages and that at AK, we intend for all of our actions to represent an inclusive environment where respect is given to each and every student. We will also work to further educate our students on the impact of using social media to address our feelings instead of communicating and learning from one another’s perspectives. Social media hate is never the way to move social equity work forward. Instead, talking about issues and listening to one another is how we can begin to make true strides towards an inclusive and respectful environment. In the words of Officer Herrera, his favorite quote, you can always do better. At Ardrey Kell, we will continue to honor Julio Herrera by focusing on always doing better.”