By now, everyone is aware of the ongoing debate regarding the symbolism behind the Confederate flag. Although many of its supporters insist it is a sign of heritage, as opposed to a visual representation of hate, there are still many Americans that aren’t convinced, which is why the Rutherford County School District’s recent decision has sparked controversy.
According to Opposing Views, the school district recently upheld the decision to allow students to fly Confederate flags on their vehicles. The controversial directive follows a complaint to a local news station by an African American mother who has requested to remain nameless.
During a recent interview with News 2, the Smyrna, Tennessee, mom expressed her concerns for her 14-year-old son’s safety after learning about the Confederate flags being flown at Stewards Creek High School in Rutherford County. Although her son reportedly made mention of the flag, it all became surreal when she dropped her son off at school on Wednesday, Apr. 12.
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— Lee Levy (@thekingleelevy) August 14, 2015
She had the opportunity to see the flags for herself. She noted that at least three vehicles had Confederate flags; one in particular with the words “Hate not Heritage” spray-painted over it. She verbally expressed just how upsetting the experience was.
“I felt sad and hurt when I saw that,” the unnamed mother said. “I just don’t think it should be in schools.” The mother stated that she initially contacted the school district with a complaint about the Confederate flag, but the school district responded by telling her nothing could be done. Rutherford County Schools spokesman James Evans released a statement to WKRN-TV in response to the mother’s complaint. Evans defended the school district by referencing the First Amendment, which gives students the right to freedom of speech where they can openly express their personal beliefs.
Although the Rutherford County School District argues nothing can be done to prohibit students from displaying Confederate flags, the recent decision enforced by nearby school districts raises many questions. According to Opposing Views, several nearby schools have opted to ban the Confederate flag from the dress code. The three middle schools mentioned were Cheatham County Middle School, Harpeth Middle School, and Sycamore Middle School.
While the concerned mother has stated that she desires to see changes to the school’s policy, the school district has not released information regarding any possible changes.
[Image via WKRN Screen Capture]