The school district in Durham, North Carolina, is banning all Confederate flags after the school board voted unanimously in favor of the move.
On the evening of Aug. 24, board members with Durham Public Schools (DPS) voted 7-0 to change the dress code to ban the controversial flag in addition to swastikas and symbols associated with the Ku Klux Klan, reports The Herald-Sun.
The new policy does not allow anything "reasonably expected to intimidate other students on the basis of race (for example the Confederate battle flag, Nazi swastika, and Ku Klux Klan or KKK) religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, immigration status, or any other classification that is protected by law, regulation or Board policy," according to the school code, notes The Herald-Sun.
Though the district typically lets the principals decide how to address specific dress code situations, the board decided to "get specific, called-out examples of the kinds of things that are bubbling up now" in light of the national controversies surrounding these symbols, said school board Chairman Mike Lee.
"We have to be aware that a principal is going to make a decision at sometime that two weeks later, as we hear about it in a meeting, would seem like it was not a wise decision," DPS Board of Education Vice Chairman Steve Unruhe explained.
DPS joined nearby districts Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in the dress code restrictions.
"Though there have been several revisions to the new dress code policy, there are some significant changes in the new policy that deserve highlighted attention," reads a statement that Orange County sent to parents of the ban. "In particular, there are new prohibitions about items that are reasonably expected to intimidate other students."
Confederate imagery has been a hot-button issue for some time but is picking up steam after people have been protesting such statues across the nation, and Durham activists even toppled one in their city on Aug. 14 that officials had covered in cooking spray in an attempt to keep them off of it, according to WRAL.
DPS board members also elected to remove industrialist and philanthropist Julian Shakespeare Carr's name from a building at one of their schools in light of the man's racial views and disparaging words he famously uttered about beating a black woman, reports The Herald-Sun.
"Confederate monuments and flags and things like that, these are all symptoms," superintendent Dr. Bert L'Homme said, according to WCMH. "And, removing the symptoms doesn't cure the disease, but we really need to address the real issue, which is that essentially some people think they're superior over other people."