Kearney student suspended for painting flag on bare chest for school video

KEARNEY, Mo. - A Kearney High School senior was suspended Thursday after he and two friends painted their bare chests to resemble an American flag for a school music video.

The lip-dub video was filmed first thing Thursday morning at a school-wide event.

Dylan Eckstein and two of his friends, Taylor Snider and Jackson Specker, decided to go patriotic for the video, which hasn't been posted online yet. But school administrators said the seniors' bare chests -- covered in an American flag or not -- violated the school's dress code.

Taylor said the trio wanted show to their patriotism in the project and came up with the idea. Dylan said one school administrator even walked by and said the idea was pretty cool.

"They encouraged us to get dressed up," Dylan explained.

But not all administrators viewed the stunt the same way.

"Another one walked by and said ‘That's not okay, you have to put your shirts down,'" Dylan said.

Jackson said a third administrator witnessed students snapping a picture of them with their shirts off, which is when "it all started to get blown out of proportion."

Dylan said he attempted to reason with the administrator, but his pleas failed and he was suspended for the remainder of the day.

"The policy says the first offense is one day in school suspension or loss of privileges, and that's the maximum," Taylor said.

Taylor and Jackson were not punished because they put their shirts back on.

A video the school made last year featured several male students with bare chests and even the swim team in Speedos, leaving the students confused if the punishment was more for patriotism.

41 Action News reached out to school officials, who sent the following statement Friday afternoon:

With any school activity comes the expectation for appropriate student behavior. As in real-life, individuals who choose not to follow guidelines set forth also make the conscious choice not to participate in the activity. To communicate yesterday's incident had anything to do with the banning of the American flag is not only inaccurate, it is disrespectful to a school that prides itself on fostering patriotism.

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