A North Carolina school board has decided to continue ignoring pleas from a local NAACP to ban Confederate flags from all school properties.
According to the News & Observer, the Orange County Schools Board of Education rejected the ban at a meeting Monday, saying that it would instead establish an equity committee of the school board to advise on several issues, including symbolic speech. Members of the board tried to emphasize that hate speech, bullying or intimidation would not be tolerated, even while refusing to outright denounce the flag of losers and racists.
“We understand that improvement is an ongoing process, and we are committed to collaborating with our community to support the health and well-being of all students,” board Chair Stephen Halkiotis said.
As the site notes, the Northern Orange County NAACP has twice requested that the board of education ban the Confederate flag.
“To the NAACP, that includes the historical context of the Confederate flag to slavery, the Confederacy, the Civil War and Jim Crow,” Northern Orange County NAACP President Patricia Clayton wrote in a letter to school board members. “For many, the flag is a racially inflammatory symbol, which is undeniably rooted in slavery and racism. Given OCS’ commitment to serve all students, the district should not allow the Confederate flag on its campuses.”
Several people in the community have underlined the increased appearance of the battle flags on vehicles, bags and pieces of clothing on school grounds. There was also an incident at Cedar Ridge High School last week during which a student apparently carried a Confederate flag around the school asking students if they were offended. One woman said that the student in question used a racial slur while asking her child if the flag was offensive.
One parent, Kelly Doherty, rather astutely questioned why her 11-year-old daughter’s potentially bare thigh is deemed a “distraction” warranting a mention of the dress code, but the Confederate flag is not.
And Latrandra Strong, founder of Hate-Free Schools and Coalition, said: “We have been challenging the schools and their dress code policy for allowing the Confederate flag on school properties. We feel like the Confederate flag has dual meaning. Some of it is Southern heritage, but there is also an element about racial intimidation, harassment and racial superiority. And we think that it is not embracing of all citizens, and thus, should not be allowed on campus.”
Read more at the News & Observer.