Understanding the consequences, an Illinois school board member is defending comments she made about the American flag over social media.
In a post to Facebook that supports NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, Traci O’Neal Ellis felt strongly she needed to speak out. In the post, Ellis equates the American flag with a piece of toilet paper — but she was expecting backlash.
“Why did I post it? Because I’m frustrated deeply frustrated,” Ellis said.
For six years, O’Neal Ellis has been a school board member in district U-46 in Elgin for six years. She says she would take a knee at board meetings if it wouldn’t be too disruptive. Jeanette Ward, a fellow board member is offended by Ellis’s actions and comments.
“We tolerate free speech and we tolerate dissent but when you start burning the flag, spitting on the flag, and talk about using it for toilet paper – and we all know what toilet paper is used for – that’s despicable and offensive,” Ward said.
O’Neal Ellis says, for her, it’s not the symbol of the flag but the people behind it that have more meaning. And that this fight is about equality in America. Many on her Facebook page have turned this into a racial issue. She’s being called names and getting death threats. Ward supports the First Amendment right to free speech. She say O’Neal Ellis went too far.
O’Neal Ellis says it is not the symbol of the flag but the people behind it that hold meaning to her – and that the fight is about equality. On her Facebook page, many have turned this into a racial issue and called O’Neal Ellis names and threatened death. Ward supports the First Amendment right to free speech but says O’Neal Ellis went too far.
“I don’t say she can’t say it but it’s despicable and disgraceful that she did.”
The board meeting is scheduled for Monday at U-46 headquarters and O’Neal Ellis is ready to defend her actions.