2 Little Miami football players reinstated after incident with flags

This picture was posted by Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell with a statement of support for two Little Miami  football players suspended for carrying Blue Lives Matter flag onto the field on Friday.
This picture was posted by Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell with a statement of support for two Little Miami football players suspended for carrying Blue Lives Matter flag onto the field on Friday.

Warren County officials criticize school district over Blue Lives Matter incident response.

Two Warren County officials joined those criticizing what turned out to be the brief suspension of two Little Miami football players who took the field last Friday night - Sept. 11- with flags supporting the Blue Lives Matter movement after being told not to by school officials.

On Tuesday, the Little Miami Schools ended one-practice suspensions for players Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley for carrying “Thin Blue Line” flag and a “Thin Red Line” flags onto the field. School officials pushed back at detractors in their message to parents.

“Little Miami Local Schools is saddened to see this story take such a negative turn. The district enjoys an outstanding relationship with our local police and fire agencies.”

"In fact, the Patriot Night program Friday night featured a script recognizing first responders, information about what happened on 9/11, a poem celebrating those who sacrificed their lives and a remembrance ceremony with a moment of silence. We regret that such a moment of solemnity was somehow lost in this event.

“As the season continues, the only two flags that will come through the Little Miami football tunnel are the flag of the United States of America and the Little Miami spirit flag. The Board of Education supports this decision of district administration,” said the message to parents from Bobbie Grice, president of the Little Miami Local Schools Board of Education.

Earlier Tuesday, Warren County Commissioner Dave Young said he didn’t like what he was hearing about the district’s response to the incident.

“People need to be held accountable,” Young said during the commission’s meeting Tuesday. “I’m actually embarrassed."

Young’s comments followed a Facebook post Monday by Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell in support of Williams and Bentley.

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“I support the heroes of 9/11. I support my fellow law enforcement professionals. I support our firefighters , EMTs, dispatchers, and other first responders. I support Brady & Jarad,” Fornshell’s post reads.

The district also defended the suspensions in a statement issued Monday to Cincinnati media.

“While we understand these students' desire (to) show their support of first responders, they did not obtain permission from district officials. Administrators must act when students break the rules,” the district said.

An on-line petition to “reinstate Brady and Jarad” was supported by more than 18,000 viewers as of Tuesday morning.

This was before the district note to parents on Tuesday explaining what the district had done before ending the suspension:

"While the district understands these students' desire show their support of our first responders especially on the anniversary of 9/11, they did not obtain permission from district officials to do this. School administrators must act when students break the rules, and these students were suspended from practice while the incident was investigated.

"With the Board’s support, the superintendent and high school administrators have completed the investigation. The results show that there were no political motivations behind this display of support for first responders on 9/11, but there were instances of insubordination.

“Moving forward, Little Miami is returning the players to active status and this matter will be addressed as an Athletic Department Code of Conduct issue, with any potential consequences to be handled by coaching staff.”

“The Board of Education supports this decision of district administration,” concluded the message from Bobbie Grice, president of the Little Miami Local Schools Board of Education.