CHICAGO (CBS) — An Elgin school district board member has apologized to fellow board members, after creating a firestorm of criticism when she wrote on Facebook that the American flag “means nothing more than toilet paper to me.”
Last month, Elgin Area School District U-46 board member Traci O’Neal Ellis wrote on Facebook wrote a Facebook post supporting NFL players who chose to kneel during the national anthem.
In her post, Ellis wrote the flag “means nothing more than toilet paper to me.” At the district’s board meeting Monday night, she stood by her original comments, but apologized for the “distraction” her words caused.
“I make no apologies for my comment about the flag. I made them as a private citizen, and taxpayer in this country, on my personal Facebook page, about a matter of import in the current national discourse, and based upon my personal lived experiences,” she said. “However, I could have been much more circumspect in my criticism and more elegant in my language. Please accept my apology for this.”
Her comments about the flag prompted death threats and racial slurs.
“Many people counseled me to skip this meeting, in order to avoid what one social media commentator promised would be a modern-day lynching, but I couldn’t do that,” she said.
Some who had commented on Ellis’ post had demanded her resignation from the board for disrespecting the flag.
Ellis said it was her responsibility to address the backlash, and to apologize to her fellow board members, as well as to teachers, parents, and students, for having been dragged into the situation as a result of comments she intended to remain private.