Woman seen on video taking down Latin American country flags at Oakland school

A video on social media is getting a lot of attention that appears to show a woman taking down four flags representing Latin American countries from outside a school in Oakland.

The incident happened Saturday, Sept. 17 at Coliseum College Prep Academy, a 6th-12th grade school in East Oakland located at 66th Avenue and International Boulevard. The video, posted on Instagram from an account called The Black Bay Area, shows a woman taking down four flags for the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

Oakland Unified District Spokesman John Sasaki said the flags had just been raised last week in honor of Latino Heritage Month. He called the incident discriminatory.

"This is a particularly egregious move by someone who had strange motivations," Sasaki said. "Whatever it is they were trying to do, they didn’t accomplish anything."

Sasaki said the principal happened to be on campus Saturday, noticed the flags crumpled at base of the flagpole, and immediately raised them again, along with Black Lives Matter and Pride flags. More than 75% of students who attend CCPA are Latino.

Caheri Gutierrez, Senior Manager of Communications at The Unity Council, was shocked by the video. The Unity Council is a long-time non-profit in Oakland’s Fruitvale district that "works to promote social equity and improve the quality of life by building vibrant communities."

"It is Latino Heritage Month, so for this kind of behavior, frankly this act of hate to happen during this time… we condemn it," Gutierrez said. "The flags are not just a physical thing, but for our community they represent pride. They represent culture."

Sasaki confirmed that OUSD staffers filed a police report on the incident. It’s unclear if the case will be investigated for possible trespassing or vandalism. Sasaki said they are not looking for the woman to go to jail, but at the very least have her actions serve as a lesson.

"It’s unfortunate that we’re in a world right now where this kind of behavior at least in some circles seems to be acceptable," he said. "We want to make the message clear, no matter what happens, we’re going to stand by our families, students and staff regardless of where they’re from."

SEE ALSO: Anti-Semitic messages left in bags by Novato homes

Gutierriez hopes from this act of division, comes unity, to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

"I especially want to recognize Principal [Amy] Carozza because she has been a champion of her school for educational equity and within a few hours those flags were returned to where they belong which is flying above CCPA… and flying above our community."

For more information on The Unity Council, visit their website here. https://unitycouncil.org/