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Bedsheet Banner Problem Could be Solved With Easy Fix

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

The Oxford Board of Aldermen has recently been trying to find a balance of preventing the often-vulgar bedsheet banners from hanging off homes in residential areas, while not violating people’s First Amendment Rights or interfere with them hanging American flags.

The answer turned out to be simply adding one word to an existing ordinance.

The debate came up a couple months ago when Alderman Janice Antonow said she wanted to prevent the handmade bedsheet banners that are often put up during football season when it’s a home game.

There is no distinction in the city’s code between a flag and a banner. The city cannot regulate content. Antonow suggested making the local law ban anything from hanging off the house, which would have included the American flag.

“If it’s on a pole, then it’s no longer a banner and that’s fine,” she said.

Alderman Ulysses “Coach” Howell said he didn’t want to entertain any ordinance that would prevent someone hanging an American flag, whether it was on the house or a pole.
“That’s not a fight I want to get into,” he said.

During the discussion, it was suggested to simply add “bedsheets” to section of the city’s Code of Ordinances that currently reads “Pennants, spinners, streamers, balloons and similar devices shall not be permitted upon any property or attached to the exterior of any building, upon any pole, tree or other structure.”

City planning staff said they would amend the code and present it for a first reading at the next regular Board of Aldermen meeting.

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