A visitor to a recent Lincoln High School Basketball game was none to pleased with what he saw during the National Anthem, resulting in the following letter to the principal, superintendent and school board members.
February 15, 2018
Subject: Disrespect for our flag and National Anthem at LHS Basketball game
Dear Mr. Soto-Ramos:
It is with deep regret that I write you this letter; however, the severity of the issue must not be over looked or ignored. I was not able to obtain Mr. Harper-Harris’s email from your administration staff. Please forward to him.
As you see, I have copied several people at the district level to ensure this is not happening elsewhere and to ensure it will not happen in the future.
I look forward to hearing from you as to how you will resolve this issue.
David P. Ferguson
Text of Letter…
15 February, 2018
Mr. Jose Soto Ramos
Lincoln High School
4777 Imperial Avenue, Bldg 100
San Diego, CA 92113
(Via US Mail and Electronic Mail)
RE: Lincoln High School Basketball team’s disrespect for our flag and National Anthem
Dear Mr. Soto Ramos:
My wife and I attended the varsity basketball game on Tuesday, 13 February held at Lincoln High School.
As a Veteran, I have never been more embarrassed, appalled, disappointed, shocked and disgusted at what my wife and all the other visitor/parents in the stands witnessed with your varsity basketball team during the playing of the National Anthem.
While those of us in the stands, the visiting team, their coaches and your cheer leaders stood to honor of our flag and our country during the playing of the National Anthem, your basketball coach and several of your basketball players joked with each other or sat. Three players actually remained sitting on the bench (number 5, 0 and 1 as I recall). Those that ‘stood’ were standing around like they were hanging around on a street corner somewhere. Is this Lincoln High School’s idea of a disciplined and respectful team?
In brief, their actions, lack of respect for our flag and National Anthem is despicable and reflects extremely poorly on the basketball team, players, coaches, you, Lincoln High School and whatever message is being sent through the San Diego Unified School District. All should be embarrassed and ashamed.
Interestingly enough, your published “Rules for Basketball Fans” handout states: “…support your team and respect our values of sportsmanship”. Is disrespect for our flag and National Anthem part of your school “values”? Is that what your basketball coach and you are teaching at Lincoln High School?
Your Mission Statement sates: “…and exceptional character”. Are these disrespectful actions examples of building “exceptional character”?
Your head Basketball coach, Jeff Harper-Harris, states in his web section: “(that he) Teaches the game of basketball and life”. Is disrespect for your country’s flag and National Anthem a ‘life skill’ he is teaching? I sure hope not. He also states on your website: “Our players will be held accountable for their actions on and off the court….as role models for other students” Are their disrespectful actions setting good examples as role models for other students? Hardly! Just the opposite I think.
Your school website boasted and promoted the USMC as an LHS supporter at the National Sponsor level. When the Marines came on campus and challenged your athletes to see if they ‘have what it takes to become a Marine’. I think NOT! Thank God no Marines were at the game to witness the disrespect displayed by your basketball team and coaches. No telling how they would have handled the situation. There are none more dedicated to this country, respectful and proud of our flag and National Anthem than Marines.
Finally, Lincoln High School is named after one of the greatest Americans. Lincoln loved this country and gave his life preserving it, our flag and our National Anthem. Your Alma Mater honors Lincoln and states, “…defend what we (he) hold(s) dear. Like him….We’re proud to be a part of this dear school that bears his name”. Is sitting, joking, talking and slouching during the National Anthem how you, your coaches and students ‘honor’ Mr. Lincoln and his devotion to this country? Pretty bad example if you ask me.
Those of us who witnessed the disrespect displayed by your basketball team and coaches turned to each other and asked if this is what is being taught, permitted or promoted in our schools today or just a problem at Lincoln High School?
None of us ‘visitors’ have seen such actions at any of the other basketball games played at other district schools so maybe it’s Lincoln High School’s coaching and administration issue. I/we visitors pray it’s just a problem at your school or team and not district wide. I’ve cc’d the San Diego Unified District to hear what its policy is towards this type of action and what it plans to do about it to ensure it doesn’t happened again at Lincoln or anywhere else in the district at any level.
Whatever the problem is, I encourage you, your coaches and sports teams to fix it and to live by the codes, mission statement and rules you state in writing and impose on others. Teach respect for and to honor the great flag of this great country and its National Anthem as Mr. Lincoln did…..for at least as long as your students are attending and representing your school and the San Diego Unified District. What they do after that will only reflect on the training, education and values taught at Lincoln High School or lack thereof.
Thank you for attention to and correcting this matter. Good luck.
David P. Ferguson
“Land of the Free, Because of the Brave”
Cc: Mr. Jeff Harper-Harris, Varsity Basketball Coach, no email address found
Ms. Cindy Marten, Superintendant via electronic mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. Kevin Beiser, SD Unified Board President via electronic mail (email@example.com)
Mr. Richard Barrera, SD Unified Board Mbr. Dist. D via electronic mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. George Smith, Vice Principal Athletics via electronic mail (email@example.com)
Mr. David Fai, Athletic Director via electronic mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)