February 18, 2006

Flag Flap Flummoxes Washingtonians

Posted by Amanda Toering
December 15, 2005 @ 2:35 pm
Filed under: Free Speech?, Confederate flag

From Washington state’s Olympian:

A white Black Hills High School student flew a Confederate flag from his truck as he drove onto the campus Wednesday, prompting a verbal dispute with at least three black students, school officials said.

The black students ultimately removed the flag from the boy’s truck, school officials said.

There was no physical fight, but the incident sparked concerns from parents of some of the black students who see the event as evidence of ongoing racial tensions at the school.

Students aren’t allowed to display or wear clothing depicting the Confederate flag at school because it’s highly disruptive, Black Hills Principal Jim Hainer said.

School officials are in the midst of investigating what transpired and did not take immediate disciplinary action against any of the students, Hainer said.

School officials plan to meet with the involved students and their parents, after a two-week winter break, to discuss the matter and determine what steps to take next, he said.

“It’s not an issue we take lightly,” said Hainer, describing the students involved as “good kids who are on opposite ends of a problem.”

Black Hills officials did not release the names of any students involved. But The Olympian was able to confirm the names of students involved through interviews with students and parents.

According to school officials and students:
Wade Martin, who is white, arrived at school Wednesday morning with a Confederate flag flying atop a pole sticking out of a hole in the bed of his pickup. Seniors Kevin Johnson, 18, and Dominic Lewis, 17, and junior Aba Adjepong, 16 — who all are black — approached Martin and asked him to take down the flag because they thought it was disrespectful.

A fourth black student also might have approached Martin’s vehicle, but school officials were uncertain about the total number Wednesday afternoon.

Eventually, one or two of the students removed the flag.


LSU Students Battle Confederate Battle Flag

Posted by Amanda Toering
October 27, 2005 @ 11:48 am
Filed under: Confederate flag

Some students at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge are protesting football fans’ display of the Confederate Battle Flag during games and tailgating parties. Student groups have called on school officials to ban display of the flag — which is not a symbol officially used by the university — as well as local sale of the flag.

LSU Chancellor Sean O’Keefe has condemned the flag as a symbol of bigotry, but says he will not ban it.

O’Keefe said LSU officials have encouraged businesses to not sell the purple-and-gold Confederate Naval Battle Jack flags, or what many have nicknamed “stars and bars.” The chancellor said several businesses have agreed not to stock or sell the flags, making the search for them more exhaustive.

In an e-mail to students Tuesday afternoon, however, O’Keefe said that because LSU firmly believed in the First Amendment and its right of free speech, the university cannot and will not ban or prohibit the flags or any other symbols that students or fans choose to display.

Some local businesses have voluntarily removed Stars and Bars paraphernalia from their shelves.

I personally abhor what the Confederate battle flag stands for, and I don’t buy the argument of people who say that it’s a simple symbol of their love for the land where they grew up. (It’s the land where I grew up, too. Sorry. Don’t buy it.)

That said, display of the flag, though intentionally or unintentionally offensive, is clearly a redneck’s right. Just ’cause I don’t like it, and because I feel implicitly threatened by it, doesn’t mean that they should have their rights trampled on.

If nothing else, display of the Confederate flag gives me a handy indicator of who I’d enjoy having a beer with. With most people, figuring that out takes actual work. Consider this a shortcut!

From Baton Rouge ABC affiliate WBRZ, with additional material from an earlier story.