SPENCER, Okla. – Known nationwide as a sign of distress, an upside-down flag was spotted flying over a Spencer-area school three days in a row this week.
Parent Jesse Redding said he noticed the flags flying outside the front of Rogers Middle School were flying upside-down on Tuesday. When they were the same on Wednesday, he snapped some photos, and called for it to be righted on Facebook.
But on Thursday, News 4 was there at the end of the school day when again, both the American flag and the Oklahoma Flag were flying upside-down at half-staff.
Historically, the flag is flown upside-down as a sign of distress, or extreme danger to life or property. Without meeting that standard, Redding called it a disgrace.
“With Tinker right there, and we have so many people in our families who have fought for this flag,” Redding said.
In fact, Redding said the first time he saw an upside-down flag flying at the school was over the summer.
“Just glanced up one day and noticed it upside-down,” Redding said, “and ever since I paid attention.”
An Oklahoma City Public Schools spokesperson said that this was an error made by a custodian who speaks Spanish rather than English. She said the school learned about it Wednesday afternoon, and made an attempt to explain how to do it correctly Thursday morning, but it was still not understood.
She released the following statement:
”Yesterday afternoon, OKCPS was made aware of the American flag at Rogers Middle School being flown upside down. We immediately reached out to the leaders of that school to investigate this report. It appears that there was a language barrier between the principal and the person responsible for displaying the flag. We will make sure this obstacle is addressed so this doesn’t occur again. This action was an honest mistake and didn’t represent an act of malice.”
“It doesn’t make sense to put it upside-down,” Redding said. “Now I’m just hoping that it`ll change.”