Kearney teenager rips American flag, causing stir on social media

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KEARNEY, Mo. -- A Kearney mother is in disbelief after a freshman in her son's class posted a video of him ripping an American flag while smiling to Facebook on Wednesday. The mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said the video spread quickly on social media

“Shocked. Appalled. You don’t do that,” she said. “I’ve known people who’ve come home underneath that flag. It stands for freedom, it stands for justice, it stands for the USA. You don’t disrespect it.”

She said the video has worried many of her son's classmates and parents that something like this could happen in their backyard.

“You see on TV it’s the East coast, the big cities, the walking on the flag, the burning of the flag, you had the FedEx guy, that’s never happened here,” she said.

It's a trend that she, and others in the greater Kansas City area, said is fueled by the current social media climate.

“Ignorance of a child that may not know better that needs to be taught the correct way of how to respect,” the Kearney mom said.

“Well these kids are on Facebook and there is all sorts of things going around. Cyber bullying and these kids are very impressionable. They have access to so much more than we did (growing up) so of course they are going to be impressionable,” David Grimsley, a Westport resident, said.

“I think (children today) are definitely exposed to pretty much everything. That’s true of all social media now, we get information in a second. All of the hardships that people face all over the world we see it in a matter of minutes and I think that makes people more sensitive to how the world is shaped,” Melanie Christiansen, a Kansas City resident said.

But the video boils down to one thing to the Kearney mom:

“It all comes down to respect. There are people who lived and died for that flag throughout history. You have to show it respect,” she said.