When Natasha Lea's 9-year-old son, Jacob, got off the bus, she noticed that he was sporting a new gray hat with a black bill. She looked closer and saw that it was a Confederate-style costume piece.
"I did not want to believe that. That the school actually let him walk around as an African-American child with a Confederate cap on," Lee told WGHP TV. "This stands for a dark time in our history," she said, pointing at the hat.
The North Carolina mother is upset with the school for allowing Jacob to wear the Confederate army hat replica that he received as a reward.
Rockingham County Spokesperson Karen Hyler said the school system is aware of Lea’s concerns.
"At South End Elementary a classroom teacher rewards students with 'big bucks' for positive behavior," Hyler explained in a statement the news station reports.
"Before winter break in December, the class had an auction where students could bid on different items using their big bucks. Many of the items are donated by families. One of the items for bid was a grey cap with a black bill. The cap did not feature any additional decorations."
However, the tag on the inside confirmed that it was a Confederate replica hat and Hyler confirmed that the cap was donated to the school, WGHP-TV reports.
"What is this hat doing in that school, period?" Lea asked WGHP. "For any child?"
While Hyler said in the statement that officials do not believe that Jacob's teacher acted maliciously in letting Jacob keep the hat, they will inspect donations to the school thoroughly.
"The school has reflected on this issue and will be sure to thoroughly screen items donated to err on the side of caution that they could not be seen as potentially offensive," the statement read.
Read more at WGHP TV.