A Pennsylvania teen says he was sent from school Wednesday for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag.
Christopher Shearer told Fox 43 that he felt as though he were being treated as a racist, but, he said, that’s not what the flag or the shirt means to him. The shirt features the Confederate flag and the word “REDNECK.”
“It’s more of the rebellious standpoint,” Shearer told Fox 43. “That I am my own person, I am not looking for acceptance by everybody, I like to be my own person, I am not trying to fit in with everybody.”
Shearer said he has worn the shirt four or five times before, but on Wednesday his principal at Lebanon County Career and Technology Center took exception to it.
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“My principal comes over, pulls me away from my friends, and tells me, your shirt is offensive, come with me, call your mother, you are going home,” Shearer said.
Shearer called his mother, Jennifer Shearer. She said she asked to speak with the principal.
“He told me that his shirt that he was wearing was offensive,” Jennifer said. “And I immediately asked him, ‘Offended who? Did Chris say something wrong? Did he hurt someone’s feelings? Was he mean? Was he rude?' And he said, ‘No, he offends me,’”
The Confederate flag has been at the center of numerous recent controversies.
Yesterday, administrators at a high school in Christiansburg, Virginia, suspended 23 students who staged a peaceful protest by wearing clothing displaying the flag, according to The Washington Post.
The school’s handbook says students are barred from wearing clothes that could “reflect adversely on persons due to race” and specifically says “clothing with Confederate flag symbols” fall into that category.
Such controversies follow in the wake of the mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June, that left nine dead. State lawmakers there voted in July to remove the Confederate flag that had flown at the Statehouse grounds for decades.
As for Christopher, it was not reported if he faced any disciplinary action other than being sent home for the day. His mother said he should have been given the opportunity to simply change his shirt.
The school reportedly declined to comment on the specific incident.
“This is not us,” Jennifer said. “If he were to ever to attempt to wear something that was intentionally offensive or racially directed, I would cut it up. I wasn't asked to bring him a change a clothes like it states in the handbook.”
Photo credit: WPMT News