MILLBURN, NJ — Millburn High School was the subject of a national news segment on the Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” program Friday night after Principal William Miron issued a public apology for a photograph that appeared in the 2020 school yearbook.

The photo shows a Millburn High School football player holding a “thin blue line” flag that expresses support for law enforcement officers. The photo was taken last October on a community outreach day when the Millburn High School athletic program honored its recreation teams and the D.A.R.E. program. 

Miron issued this apology last week in an email sent to district parents:

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“We were notified this afternoon of a Yearbook picture that is understandably appalling. We understand the disappointment. That photo was taken in October on a community outreach day where our Athletic Program honored our recreation teams and D.A.R.E program. The administration thought of the flag as a symbol of support for our town’s police force. School leaders did not realize at the time that the flag was a statement promoting racism or any microaggressions. Certainly, we cannot hide behind our ignorance. … The need for growth is apparent. I wish we had realized in October any of the negative associations with the picture. We should have known. I personally can only apologize that I did not. Unfortunately, we cannot change the past but we can change the direction we must head. We must use this as an opportunity to recommit to social justice and racial equity. We can and will continue to do better. I thank everyone for bringing this matter to our attention.”

A Millburn parent, Brian Nashel, was interviewed in prime time by Carlson after writing a response to Miron’s apology in which Nashel said, “As a parent, a Millburn resident, and an American, I found your letter to be not only condescending and offensive, but also spurious, misguided and ironically intolerant of anyone holding views which do not conform to the currently prescribed and carefully constructed language of wokeness.”

In his interview with Carlson, Nashel said, “I follow the news, I see what’s happening with cancel culture and I see what’s happening to anyone who speaks out who dares to veer off from the carefully constructed script that businesses and politicians are meant to convey when they’re speaking about these things.”

Nashel told Carlson that what was “truly appalling" to him was that Miron “was reacting without even thinking about the kids. He’s calling the flag that these kids are holding, these football players, he’s calling the flag racist, so essentially he’s saying these boys are out there waving a racist flag around without regard to what that might mean to the boys’ images or the boys’ futures now.

“Clearly, at that time, nobody had an objection to holding an American flag or a thin blue line flag.”

The principal’s apology was also the subject of a public reaction from Brothers Before Others, a 501(c)(3) law enforcement charity, composed of Active and Retired Law Enforcement officers.

The charity posted this statement on its Facebook page:

“While no amount of cowardice and abandonment surprises me coming from elected/appointed officials in regards to support for law enforcement, I especially find it distasteful when those opinions are projected onto our youth; especially by someone whose salary is paid in part by taxpayers – all of whom may NOT share your jaded opinions. The cancel culture and hypocrisy being accommodated by those in positions to educate rather than propagate more hate is embarrassing.”

Miron’s letter of apology cited “dozens of emails” complaining about the yearbook photo. One Millburn High School student, Marc Werner, a rising sophomore at the school, linked on his Facebook page to a public message of support for the principal which said, in part, “Regardless of where you stand within this community discussion, and if you felt his apology went too far or did not go far enough, it is important that we support Dr. Miron. The unfortunate reality of the Fox News segment is that it just fanned the flames of division within our community and nationally. Across various social media platforms, the segment has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and the comment sections are filled with death threats, degrading remarks, and anti-Semitic assertions directed at Dr. Miron.

“I've seen countless Instagram stories, Facebook posts, etc. from students, alumni, and parents standing with Dr. Miron amidst this storm of hatred. I feel that this message of support will be a great way to show Dr. Miron the outpouring of support from our community since he is not on social media.”

The Millburn Board of Education will be holding a virtual meeting Monday at 5 p.m. To join, go to www.webex.com and click "join." The event number/access code is 135 642 6519, event password "Millburn". Dial in via telephone: +1-415-655-0002.