Video shows woman pulling down Latin American flags at Oakland school

A person flies a Mexican flag in a crowd
Oakland school officials are looking into a video of a woman tearing down the flags of several Latin American countries outside a campus. Above, a fan flies a Mexican flag during the 2019 Mexico Grand Prix.
(Marco Ugarte / Associated Press)

A video posted to social media shows a woman pulling down the flags of several Latin American countries outside an Oakland school in “a hostile act,” district officials said.

The video, which was posted to Instagram on Sunday by a community organization called the Black Bay Area, opens with the woman pulling on a rope attached to a flag pole outside Havenscourt Campus in East Oakland.

The campus houses Coliseum College Prep Academy, a combined middle and high school, and a health center.


John Sasaki, an Oakland Unified School District spokesperson, told The Times that officials first noticed something was amiss Saturday afternoon.

The academy’s principal saw the flags had been taken down and found them nearby, knotted and crumpled up, Sasaki said. She fixed the flags and raised them.

“They include the flags of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala here during Latino Heritage Month,” he said. “On Sunday, the principal was alerted to the video on social media, which makes it clear that taking down the flags was a hostile act.”

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In the video, the unidentified woman threatens to burn the flags and appears to be egging witnesses on.

“And then it can be your fault,” the woman says.

The person recording the video asks the woman why she was taking the flags down. The woman replies with expletives and tells the person to “get out of my f—ing business.”

Another person not shown on camera asks the woman why she took down a Black Lives Matter flag.


“This is not Black Lives Matter,” the woman says. “This is Mexico. … This says Mexico. I’m taking it down.”

The academy’s principal sent a message to the school community Sunday evening to inform them of the incident and to convey that the school and district “will stand behind the students and staff regardless of what anyone outside the community does,” Sasaki said.

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“CCPA’s student body is more than 75% Latino, and Latino Heritage Month is very important to the community, as it is at schools across the district,” he said Monday evening. “We have talked with the Oakland Police Department, and are working with them on this issue.”

The district spokesperson called the actions captured on video “wrong, repugnant and pointless.”

As of Monday night, the woman’s identity remains unknown.

Kim Armstead, an Oakland police spokesperson, said the department hadn’t taken a report from the district or school officials.

“We did however speak with their [public information officer], who advised a report would be made today,” Armstead said Monday evening.


Further information about the incident was not available.