News

Staten Island Students Rally Around Administrator After Flag Stolen

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some middle school students are proving you’re never too young to take action.

As CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported, after an American flag was stolen from the front yard of Paula Herbst, an administrator at Morris Intermediate School on Staten Island, outraged students showed up for classes wearing red, white and blue. They wrote scalding letters to the thief or thieves. And at an assembly, they presented Herbst with a new flag — one that previously flew over One World Trade Center.

Herbst’s son was nearly killed while serving in Iraq, so the American flag is sacred to her.

“The kids call me the flag lady in the neighborhood,” said Herbst, with an American flag scarf draped around her.

“My father taught my children to respect the flag. It could never touch the ground. It had to be folded a certain way.”

In front of her home, she would place an American flag in each large flower pot. And every day for nearly 30 years, Herbst flew a flag on the flagpole in her yard. It was a staple in her Staten Island community until Christmas Eve, when she walked outside and saw her flag had been stolen.

“It was devastating,” she said. “How could someone violate me on our property?”

At her school, eighth-grade identical twins Alliah and Arianna felt they had to do something and rallied their fellow students to show their support for Herbst, which included acquiring the new flag for her.

“We got to hand the flag to Mrs. Herbst, which was really an honor,” said Alliah.

“I was crying,” Herbst said. “I was crying through the whole thing.”

But Herbst won’t fly the flag. She said she’ll give it to her son, the wounded warrior.

“It means so much, and he’ll treasure it,” she said.

As for the twins: “Just so proud of them,” Herbst said.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)