An Illinois teenager is fighting for his right to wear confederate flag apparel at his high school (photos below).
Chris Kulla, 15, is a sophomore at Prophetstown High School, Sauk Valley reported. He said the in-school suspension he served on Jan. 22 was the 10th of Prophetstown, and his first at the high school.
Chris' suspensions were mostly given because of dress code violations. He served one half-day out-of-school suspension for being insubordinate with the school principal, Mr. Johnson.
“I could see how that would be on me, because I was kind of yelling at him,” Chris told Sauk Valley. “We’re a stubborn family. We don’t really listen too well.”
Chris said he’s had issues with the principal since “day one.” He said the principal noticed his Confederate flag belt buckle one day and told him to remove it, saying the flag was racist and discriminatory.
The district’s dress code states the following:
Students shall not wear clothing or practice grooming which is unsafe, unsanitary, distracting or offensive to others, or destructive to property. … Items may be confiscated and may not be returned. … Students should demonstrate good judgment in what they wear. Language or emblems on clothing that promote or advertise intoxicants, alcohol, tobacco, chew, sexually transmitted diseases, violence, racism, hatred, discrimination, satanic practices, corpses, gang affiliation, or contain profanity or sexual innuendo are not permissible.
But Chris says that’s not the message he is trying to put out when he wears his confederate flag apparel. His distant relative fought in the Confederate Army and Chris said his grandfather instilled Southern pride in him at a very young age.
“We’re a very Southern family,” Chris said, adding that the Confederate flag’s ban at government buildings makes him very upset. “Just because some people think it’s racist doesn’t make it racist. That’s one person’s opinion. And it’s all how you look at it.”
Chris' mother, Melanie Kulla, reiterated her son’s statements.
“We just believe in a country way of life,” she said. “He and his brothers like trucks and mud. For him, the Confederate flag is not about race, or things other people make it about.”
Kulla added that her older son has worn similar apparel to school without any consequences.
“My problem with what’s going on at the school, is that the dress code isn’t applied consistently across the student body,” she said. “And my concern is that Chris is losing out on class time and instruction time.”
Chris said he and some of his family, classmates and their parents will show up at the school’s board meeting on Jan. 25. They all plan on wearing clothes that feature the Confederate flag.
“I want to see Mr. Johnson realize I’m not being disrespectful or racist,” Chris said. “I’m trying to do it without getting in trouble. My end result is I want to be able to wear the Confederate flag every day.”