Christiansburg High School in Virginia suspended 23 students today after they wore and refused to remove Confederate flag clothing (video below).
Originally, about 25 students wore the clothing and were asked to change their clothing by school officials, but 23 refused and were subsequently put in detention (in-school suspension), but 17 reportedly became disruptive, so they were suspended from school for one day.
"We all knew that we would probably get in trouble," student Danielle Broce told ABC 13. "And we all did. We did not know that all of us would be kicked out. We anticipated a tiny bit that we would, but we knew that they weren't just going to not do anything about it."
Montgomery County Schools spokesperson Brenda Drake said in a statement:
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We value our students’ First Amendment rights, but we must maintain an orderly and safe environment for all students. Incidents of racial tension at CHS support the continued prohibition of the Confederate flag in the building.
We are not issuing a judgment on the flag, but know that not allowing it at CHS supports a peaceful educational environment in the building. Continued racial friction suggests that lifting the ban of this particular symbol would cause significant disruption at the school.
“Well, we feel like we have the right to fly whatever flag we feel necessary," student Andrew Love told ABC 13.
"We are going to come back and we are going to fly our Confederate flags high," added Dalton Ready, another student. "Just do the same thing we did today. And it will keep going on until we get what we want back."
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“We’re not trying to go into school and raise Cain or anything,” student Zach Comer told The Washington Post. “We’re doing it to raise a point that the flag is not racist. Everyone else can wear whatever shirts they want but we’re not. We just said, ‘It’s time to put a stop to it.'"
However, the Confederate Flag was flown by Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army, out of Northern Virginia, which fought for the slavery of black people during the Civil War, noted NPR.
The Confederate flag was also flown by the KKK and other racist groups during the Jim Crow era. The States' Rights Democratic Party (created in 1948), which opposed civil rights for black people, also used the Confederate flag as their symbol.