The Confederate Flag has become the center of an ongoing controversy at a Pennsylvania high school, with students being suspended left and right for wearing the banned symbol, and some parents threatening to pull their kids out of school over safety concerns, WMUR (Manchester) is reporting.
The Confederate Flag controversy at Pittsburgh’s Plum Senior High School seems to have begun with Noah Leech, who says he’s worn the flag proudly to school several times without complaints. According to WAFB (Baton Rouge), the flag is a symbol of his family. And he categorically rejects any notion that he wears it as a racist symbol, or as a statement for slavery.
“Our bloodline comes from West Virginia. They were helping move slaves from the South into the North under the Confederate flag, so that’s what I stand for.”
— Pittsburgh PG (@PittsburghPG) December 10, 2016
Last week, Noah wore a hoodie bearing the Confederate Flag to school. This time, he was suspended — and threatened with expulsion.
“They basically told me I have to go home, and there is a possibility I may be expelled for wearing my hoodie to school.”
Things snowballed from there. Several other students, outraged at Leech’s suspension, began showing up at school wearing the Confederate Flag. More suspensions started coming down from the principal’s office.
Then parents started complaining.
According to Plum Schools Superintendent Timothy Glasspool, “about 50” complaints have come in. It’s not clear, as of this writing, how many of those complaints were in response to the ban on the Confederate Flag, and how many were from parents concerned about other kids showing up at school wearing the flag.
A Pennsylvania student was suspended from school after wearing a hoodie featuring the Confederate flag. https://t.co/0hqXXI67xW pic.twitter.com/rWETLI17j2
— WTOL 11 (@WTOL11Toledo) December 11, 2016
Parent Robert Williams pulled his child out of school last week because he felt “intimidated” by having to send his child to a school were dozens of kids are wearing the Confederate Flag.
“There are quite a few parents who pulled their kids out of school. I talked to one parent who is considering transferring his kid out of the school district because he doesn’t feel like his child is safe.”
Student Desiree Ulmer says that Leech’s Confederate Flag never bothered her. But once it became a thing, and several other students started showing up wearing it, it was clear that there was a cultural shift going on at Plum High School, and it’s one that she doesn’t exactly feel comfortable with.
“I had no problem with the kid wearing it at first because I never see the kid. The kid never affected me in any type of way, but when more people decided to come to school wearing the Confederate flag, at that point, it was like, ‘OK, this is getting a little too disrespectful for me.'”
For Superintendent Glasspool, it’s clear that there’s something larger, going on in the background, that led to the Confederate Flag controversy erupting in his school.
“This seems like a spin off from the elections.”
In fact, the election of Donald Trump has led to some uncomfortable incidents involving race at schools throughout the country. For example, in Michigan according to this Inquisitr report, junior high school students in Michigan formed a human wall and blocked a Latina classmate from walking down the hall — that is, until teachers broke it up.
For Noah Leech, he says that he will not stop wearing his Confederate Flag clothes, whether they are banned by his school or not.
[Featured Image by David Carillet/Shutterstock]