A couple of Fayetteville High School students showed up to school wearing Confederate flag shirts, with paintings of the flags drawn on their hands and faces.
School officials asked them to remove the paint and change shirts, but they declined to comply. They were then asked to leave the school.
A ninth-grade student, Jagger Starnes, said: "To us, it's not hate, everyone is saying it's hate, it's our history. We live in a southern state and if we were doing it for hate we wouldn't be wearing it."
Jay Dostal, the school principal, said: "The Confederate flag is a symbol and it has a long history, 150 years, tied to being the ideas of racism, hatred and bigotry and because of that it’s not allowed in our school setting."
The district’s rules state:
"Attire that disrupts the educational process or otherwise interferes with the rights or opportunities of others to learn or teach is considered improper and unacceptable."
Dostal added: "I'm just looking at strictly the board policy. I shared with the students outside of school if you want to wear that absolutely go ahead."
Jagger maintained that the school principal called him a racist.
"I'm honestly not racist, I have friends that are black, I have friends that are Mexican, you know I'm not racist by any means," he said.
"I would never call a student a racist. Absolutely not," Dostal responded.
Jagger's father, Keith Starnes, stated that he supported his son's decision to wear Confederate flag attire.
He said, "I support him in any way he's doing it because that's what he's standing up for. If he was doing it for hate than it would be different but he's not so yeah I'm going to support my son."
"In a diverse school setting like we're in it's important that we keep all kids safe and let them feel safe and free from the Confederate flag," Dostal said.
Jagger said that despite the reprimand, he was going to keep wearing the Confederate flag attire to school.
Administrators stated that students who defy the dress code would be sent home.