Controversy lingers in the Bay Area regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Criticism arose on Tuesday when a Palestinian flag was observed flying above an Oakland high school, Fremont High School. Freelance reporter Zach Haber shared a photo of the flag, but it remains unclear who raised it and for how long it was displayed. Many Palestinians view the flag as a symbol of their identity and freedom.
By Wednesday, the flag had been taken down. Some individuals expressed concerns on social media, suggesting that the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) had not adequately safeguarded its Jewish students.
A comment on social media read, “And people wonder why Jewish families don’t feel safe in OUSD right now.” Shira, a parent of Israeli and Arab ethnicity with a son in seventh grade in the OUSD, voiced her perspective. She mentioned the challenges students face post-Covid with their academic subjects and questioned the need for such an issue. Shira argued that if the intention was peace, an Israeli flag and a peace sign should have been displayed as well. She deemed the flag’s presence divisive and harmful to students, adding that it contributes to existing violence on school grounds and introduces geopolitical conflicts.
Zoya Vies, a Walnut Creek mother, expressed her viewpoint, emphasizing that flying a Palestinian flag over a public school takes a clear stand. She believed that a humanitarian approach focused on peace in the region would be acceptable, but she perceived the flag as a declaration rather than a neutral stance. Vies, who migrated from Russia to escape anti-Semitism, emphasized the need for clarity in the school’s message.
As of the time of publication, the Oakland Unified School District had not responded to requests for comment.