By: Alisa Giannelli
Who knew that remembering those who died on 9/11 would be controversial? My Young Americans for Freedom chapter’s participation in the 9/11: Never Forget Project brought out the worst from the Left. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Lake Forest High School community has given our YAF chapter problems.
Weeks before the event took place, we met with our school administration to discuss hosting the 9/11: Never Forget Project. The school was quick to tell us that we were not allowed to use any of the grass in front of the school to set up the 2,977 American flags. Instead, they advised us to use city property.
With only one week until the event we accepted their denial, disappointed that the high school, administration, and the school board missed an opportunity to unify the community around a non-partisan event honoring the victims of 9/11.
On the morning of the 18th anniversary of 9/11, students, parents, and local first responders joined our YAF chapter to help create our memorial. The event quickly gained attention on social media. Many community members shared their gratitude towards our display and truly appreciated it.
People started to question why the school did not allow the flags to be placed on campus. The community quickly chimed in and began to make speculations.
Some community members made false claims about YAF, claiming we are a hateful group. This is blatantly false. YAF promotes individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values, and embraces intellectual diversity. It would be antithetical to conservatism and YAF’s core beliefs to believe any individual is worth more or less than another.
Liberal students and administrators alike, talk a lot about ending hatred and bullying. Sadly, the main practitioners of this bullying are the same people who claim to denounce it, in their actions and animosity towards YAF. In fact, our YAF chapter has faced more hatred and pushback from the “tolerant” left in the past two weeks than any other student organization at LFHS has ever faced, with the administration encouraging the ostracizing of our group by preventing us from holding our event on campus.
A student at Lake Forest High School and a writer for the student newspaper, bizarrely claimed in an article that the reason our event was not allowed on campus was due to worries over maintaining “political neutrality”. This is insignificant. YAF is non-partisan. This student, however, is the founder of the only partisan club at school, the High School Democrats of America. What happened to political neutrality? It’s hypocritical to complain about “political neutrality” when in reality, you’re just against a conservative viewpoint being heard at school.
What started out as a way to honor all of the victims of 9/11 quickly turned into the Left baselessly attacking our YAF chapter rather than focusing on this tragic day. Those who claim to seek political neutrality often are only interested in ensuring they can control the expression of others.
9/11 was a tragic event in our history that should never be forgotten. The fact that our group was prohibited from displaying American flags or even YAF’s 9/11: Never Forget Project sign is not only a restriction on our First Amendment freedoms, but worse yet another example of the Left attempting to silence those whose speech they disfavor.
Alisa Giannelli is the co-founder and chairwoman of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Lake Forest High School in Illinois.