A California high school became tangled up in a controversy over the Confederate Flag after parents complained that it was used in a banner promoting an upcoming performance of Romeo and Juliet, Topix is reporting.
The Theater Department at Westlake High School in Westlake Village, California, put up a banner promoting the Shakespeare classic featuring the Union and Confederate flags, hoping that viewers would note the similar themes of war and competing factions shared between the two sides of the U.S. Civil War and the dispute between the Houses of Montague and Capulet in the play.
Some Westlake parents, however, didn’t see it that way, according to CBS Los Angeles, and demanded that the banner featuring the Confederate flag be taken down. The school obliged.
Parent Sedrick Blount was appalled that the school allowed the Confederate flag to be displayed in the school at all.
“That represents hatred, racism and just pure evil.”
Parent Angelina Sanchez agreed.
“The Confederate flag is just not a good advertisement. It can leave a confusing message to children who are vulnerable. It’s like, ‘What are we saying to them?'”
At least one Westlake High School student, senior Jacquelyn Aguilera, agreed with the upset parents that the Confederate flag had to go.
“I think the school should try to be a little more culturally conscientious.”
Stella Mandell, whose niece performed in the play, saw the Confederate flag banner differently. She too the display at face value: that the two flags highlight the notion of two factions at war — the conflict at the very heart of the Romeo and Juliet narrative.
“I’m just looking at it from an artistic point of view because we are supporting the arts. This is symbolic of what the play is about. Bottom line.”
Just what the Confederate flag stands for remains a matter of intense debate, 150 years after the Civil War. To some, it’s merely a symbol of pride in Southern culture or being from the South. To others, it’s a symbol of racism and hate due to its connection with slavery.
Its use has also caused controversy in several areas, often involving the courts and raising First Amendment questions. Recently, a Texas case involving the use of the Confederate flag on Lone Star State license plates was sent to the Supreme Court, according to this Inquisitr report.
The two parents who complained about the Confederate flag being used to promote Romeo and Juliet say they’ve received an apology from the school.
[Images courtesy of: Shutterstock/nazlisart, Conejo School District]