Nashua man calls on 'armed American patriots' in wake of NH school flag flap
LONDONDERRY— A comment on social media about the American flag policy for a pep rally prompted Londonderry High School to contact police.
The precaution came after Kevin Kervick, of Nashua, responded to an article Granite Grok's posted to its Facebook page in the wake of an apparent misunderstanding over the school's instructions to students who may want to include the flags in a pep rally Friday.
"Hopefully armed American patriots descend on this district and occupy the buildings until this policy is reversed," Kervick wrote.
The move was "just a precaution," said school superintendent Scott Laliberte Wednesday. "Anytime someone makes a comment like that we have a duty to report it."
A memo that went out to about two dozen students on Sept. 10 read in part, "NO use of the American flag. Do not wear/carry/present the American flag on the floor." This was sent to organizers of the school's annual pep rally that is planned to precede this weekend's sports team competition between Londonderry and rival Pinkerton Academy in Derry. The school has since clarified the memo after some people interpreted it as school policy.
School officials later said what they really meant was that there would be no inappropriate use of American Flags as teams were being announced at the event. Students at previous pep rallies displayed flags in a way that upset staff members who were also military veterans.
School officials released the clarification Monday after news of the instruction to students started circulating on social media.
Kervick stood by his own social media statement Wednesday, but in a phone interview with NH1 said his comment wasn't meant to be violent.
"I'm not a violent person. I never have been," Kervick said. "I'm a father and concerned about my country. We're devolving as a nation. It was nice to see a clarification from Londonderry."
In a Facebook post in an account titled Joseph America and sent to NH1, Kervick said in part, "a hope is not a plan. Secondly, I am referring to civil disobedience like we saw during Occupy Wall Street when hundreds of thousands of Americans occupied public spaces in order to express their disdain for the 1 percent."
"I think it is great that this Superintendent further clarified this issue after the public backlash it created. Can you blame conservatives for being reactive?" he said.
Laliberte said Wednesday the flag policy hadn't caused much of a stir among students.
"It has been even less of an issue on campus among students. The students understood from the start what we were trying to do," he said. "We made the school resource officer aware of it. They're handling it from here."
Kervick said his post was meant to incite protest not violence.
"Let me be clear. I am not calling for violence," Kervick said, "I am calling for protest. I want patriots to stand up and demand that the left stop its assault on our American Community."
In a video posted online Wednesday, Kervick referred to the memo that had been sent as a "misunderstanding."
Kervick, who ran for state office in Portsmouth in 2012 and in Nashua in 2016, said he used the word "armed" because, "this is New Hampshire."
"It's very scary," he said. "Conservatives are afraid to speak out because Antifa says they will commit violence."
Laliberte said principal Jason Parent addressed the issue with students Monday.
"The feedback was 'we understood that you don't want us to disrespect the flag,'" Laliberte said. "I would say between Monday and most of the day yesterday, both of us have received a lot of positive feedback and some apologies from people who said some less than tasteful things."
Laliberte said, "it's just one example of a time that we probably could have avoided the whole situation if they called us first instead of assuming."