Sunday, 15 June 2014

Arden apologises over German flag on D-Day anniversary

ARDEN headteacher Martin Murphy has apologised for any upset caused by the flying of the German flag outside the school on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.


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The flag along with the British and Arden flag was flown on Friday June 6 to welcome German exchange students but led to criticism from some war veterans.

A statement from headteacher Martin Murphy and the chairman of the Knowle Royal British Legion Ray Warren said “There has been some upset caused to a small number of our community”.

The statement said: “We apologise for any upset caused.

“The flag was raised late on Friday 6th June in order to celebrate and welcome the latest group of German students from Albert Einstein Schule who are taking part in the Year 9 exchange programme.

“The two schools have been associated for over fifteen years and recognise the many benefits of such an experience both to the students involved and their communities.

Arden and the Knowle Royal British Legion work closely together – no one has complained or made comment directly to the school it appears that someone made contact with the local press.”

He said the school will hold a First World War commemorative event on June 27

Mr Murphy said in the statement: “One of Arden’s stated aims is to teach our students about community spirit and our place in the global world. This exchange programme is an excellent opportunity for our students to experience this and in doing so become successful citizens of the future’.

Mr Warren said: “It is disappointing that  some negative comments have been made - these do not reflect the views of the Royal British Legion.

“We are looking forward to working with Arden and we are delighted to welcome the German students to our community.”

A Birmingham Mail article from June 11 – the day the statement was issued – quoted Mr Warren saying ex-servicemen would be “disgusted” by the flying of the German flag.

He said: “Considering there are two celebrations this year - the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the First World War - it’s very out of order.

“I think many ex-military would be disgusted to see the German flag. It is a very unusual step for Arden to take and I am quite shocked.

“We have got very few ex-servicemen left now and I think for them to see something like that is out of order.

“These men have suffered enough and there are lads who are still serving their country.”

It quoted Mr Murphy saying: “We did not intend to cause any upset.

“The flag was there to simply welcome our German exchange students, who arrived at the weekend. The flag was put up in time for their arrival.

“We were celebrating the arrival of our German students, who are really enjoying their time in Solihull at the moment.”

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