Officials at a middle school in New Hampshire confiscated a seventh grader's American flag because they said it could be used as a weapon.
The flag was given to Shawn Stevens by a family friend whose son is being deployed to Afghanistan. The boy, who is autistic, brought the flag to Dover Middle School to show his friends.
Theresa Stevens told Foster's Daily Democrat that her 12-year-old son was just trying to be patriotic.
"He's proud of it," she told the newspaper. "He just wanted to show everybody he's proud to be an American.
But a co-principal at Dover Middle School said the flag was a breach of school policy because the pointy tip could be used as a weapon. The flag was confiscated and Shawn's parents were called.
The school said it had nothing to do with patriotism, noting they recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily and display an American flag in a hallway.
"Perhaps we could've taken the flag off the stick. Let the student keep the flag," co-principal Kimberly Lynds told the Fox News Channel's Boston affiliate. "At the moment we didn't realize the value of it to him."
The school said he was not punished and the flag was eventually turned over to his parents.
"This was a safety concern. It had nothing to do with the flag, it had to do with the size of the stick that the flag was on," she told Fox.
But Shawn's mother said the explanation doesn't make much sense.
"This just isn't right," she told the newspaper. "This school lets students carry around compasses with pointed ends and sharp pencils, and because those are considered school things they're OK, but an American flag is considered a weapon?"
A number of folks are coming to Shawn's defense. A Facebook page has already been started called, "Support Shawn Stevens."