School Makes Teen Take Down Confederate Flag (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani
Confederate Flags MannequinsConfederate Flags Mannequins

It's hard to believe for many, but for some, the Confederate flag -- a symbol of the Southern government that fought for slavery, later proudly flown by the Ku Klux Klan -- does not represent racism.

For some, the flag symbolizes something different: A tribute to fallen 19th century Southern soldiers who fought for state rights.

"Anyone today hoping to understand why so many Americans consider the flag an object of veneration must understand its status as a memorial to the Confederate soldier," History Net reports.

It's these two conflicting interpretations that are at the heart of a current controversy at a Florida Clay County High School.

The school asked a student to remove a Confederate flag flying from his truck while on campus grounds or face consequences, WJAX reports.

"The school district respects a student’s right to self-expression however, our policy states that the right to self-expression may not infringe upon the rights of others and cannot interfere with the orderly educational process," it explained, adding many students complained about the flag.

The school said it successfully discussed the matter with the student and parents, reaching a "a resolution that respects the rights of all students." The school said no disciplinary action was taken against the student.

The  teenager's mother, Erika Willis -- who added that many of the high school's students wear Confederate flag shirts -- paints a different story.

She says administrators threatened to write her son a referral if he refused to comply. In addition, the teenager had to give up his parking pass.

Since then, the teenager has gained the support of his friends who have added the flag to their own vehicles.

The incident has triggered a debate about free speech.

"I hate the knee thing," writes veteran John Urquhart on Action News Jax' Facebook page, referring to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusal to stand during the national anthem. "I could give two s---- about the Confederate Flag thing. But as an American and retired military, I ask why are people infringing on people's right to free speech? It's a two way street."

Others argue public schools are "government institutions" that have the right to dictate what is appropriate for students to place on their grounds.

"Your home is a different story...keep your personal business and opinions there," wrote Facebook user Vickie Moore.

Sources: History Net, WJAX, Action News Jax/Facebook / Photo credit: WRCB via YouTube, Danielle AN Jax/Twitter, WJAX

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