There has been much controversy swirling around the Confederate Flag and the tensions which have been raised over its destruction and removal from society. It stands as a piece a history for many and a testament of the past to all sides of the spectrum. Such history should be preserved most proponents would say. Others claim that a dark past is reason to eliminate the symbol. However, you feel about it hiding the symbol is not going to remove the burden.
The Orange County School Board in Hillsborough, North Carolina has vote to decide the future of the iconic symbol and its permissive nature as to be displayed on school grounds.
The overwhelming majority of the board has decided Monday night to give a preliminary approval to a policy banning “racially intimidating” clothing and accessories from school grounds.
The Orange County School Board public dress code had to make a revision to its policy in order to ban the symbol all together. This was done by inserting a new language into the policy that would eliminate the permissions of the Confederate Flag on any artifact carried by a student or worn by them. This means patches on backpacks or stickers on binders or logos on hats or t-shirts. They symbol that once stood for heritage and southern pride is completely barred from being recognized in any way. Although the school decided this policy was best to implement it still has to have a second hearing on the matter. According to regulations for any changes to policies there must be a ‘Two Hearing Approval’ before it becomes official.
A two-word phrase was added to the end of the written policy. The policy now states “Clothing and accessories are not to substantially disrupt the education process. Students are not to wear clothing, buttons, patches, jewelry or any other items with words, phrases, symbols, pictures or signs that are indecent, profane, or racially intimidating.” The words “racially intimidating” before this reading weren't part of the policy.
“The insertion of the new language into the policy was meant to directly address the large public concern over incidents of the Confederate flag on campuses.” said Orange County Schools spokesman Seth Stephens.
Stephens went on to say “the new language gave individual school principals further grounds to address, discipline, and recognize violations of ‘racially intimidating’ clothing.”
However, the new policy doesn't address Confederate Flags being displayed in other ways such as an actual Confederate Flag. The policy itself is limited to clothing and clothing is defined as accessories or worn on the student body.
Back in February the Orange County NAACP raised heavy concerns over the idea of Confederate Flags being flown at all nearby or on school grounds. It has demanded that the school ban the flag from being raised or even on staff members or parent’s vehicles.
Understandably so this has caused great tensions from parents who believe the flag is a symbol of pride and honor and it's been a controversial topic with much anguish on both sides of the spectrum. Latarndra Strong, founder of the Hate-Free Schools Coalition, has written statements to the school board and their leaders after witnessing a truck with a Confederate Flag on it drive into the student parking lot at Orange High School. The school in which her daughter attends three days in a row. Back in February at the board meeting Ms. Strong along with a dozen other opponents of the Flag’s permissive nature spoke out in favor of an immediate ban. Hate-Free Schools Coalition has been the leading advocate on a number of occasions to attempt to make the symbol into one of hate versus one of heritage.
Ms. Strong went on to state “It is not going to be left up to the principle. So, with this language 'racially intimidating,' period. It is not a matter of a principle a seeing it as racially intimidating 'enough’ It is a matter of, just seeing the flag 'alone' is racially intimidation. I think originally at our schools; they weren't even seeing the Confederate Flag as being racially divisive. So with this new language and all the testimony over a period of time identifying the Confederate Flag as racial harassment; this gives us the support we need to get principles to enforce it.”
Many parents are also in a stance of keeping the flag. Such a decision by the board will not be finalized until after the second reading where it's expected to gather dozens from both sides with vocal opposition to either argument