Should This Confederate Flag Be Allowed in School?

Confederate flagOnce again, the courts have supported the right of school districts to ban students from wearing clothing that includes the Confederate flag.  The most recent case involved a school district in South Carolina in which a student repeatedly clashed with school administrators over a number of t-shirts that likely were purchased at a local Dixie Outfitters, including “Southern Chicks,” “Dixie Angels,” “Southern Girls,” and “Daddy’s Little Redneck.”

Hardwick also sought to wear a shirt labeled “Black Confederates,” honoring a Louisiana Civil War regiment made up of free African-Americans. She also tried to wear shirts she characterized as protests of censorship of the others, with slogans such as “Jesus and the Confederate Battle Flag: Banned from Our Schools but Forever in Our Hearts,” and “Offended by School Censorship of Southern Heritage.”

This is nothing more than a case of bad parenting.

I’ve been supportive of the school district’s right to ban this clothing for the sake of the entire community, but what about this case out of Bowman, South Carolina?  Jack Lambert submitted the above image for his art class not knowing that it would not be displayed along with the work of his fellow students.

“The project was supposed be about whatever you wanted to draw … and they said they’d put it on the wall,” Lambert said. “I feel like I have the right to express my opinion and how I feel.”

“I just drew the deer because I like to hunt and (I like) the rebel flag. I just wanted it on there. I grew up with it. It means freedom, country, hunting, redneck,” he said.

This doesn’t appear to be a kid looking for trouble and he satisfied the requirements of the assignment as outlined in the article.  It seems to me that this situation deserves to be handled differently from the standard t-shirt cases involving public schools.  At some point teachers need to teach and this was a classic missed opportunity.  The teacher could have explored other examples of Confederate flag art to touch on its history and controversy.  It did not have to be immediately blown out of proportion.  I understand the caution exercised here, but not every Confederate flag is going to send the student body into a race war.  We should have more confidence in our kids.  I think sometimes we do more damage in the name of protecting students.

CraterThanks for reading this post. Scroll down, leave a comment and join the conversation if you are so inclined. Follow me on Twitter and join the Civil War Memory Facebook group for continuous updates and additional links to newsworthy items from around the interwebs. Stay up to date by subscribing to this blog’s feed. You can also check out my recently published book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

7 comments… add one

  • Christopher Graham Mar 28, 2013
    • Andy Hall Mar 28, 2013

      What about it? The Benton, Kentucky Kiwanis can set their own rules for Tater Day. After all, if Tater Day is really 168 years old — which seems a dubious claim to me — it’s a good bit older than that particular symbol.

      As for the schools, I agree with the courts that each school and each district needs to have the authority to make its own judgement whether or not certain things are allowed or not. They know their schools better than we do, presumably, and are similarly answerable to their respective communities. But they really do have an impossible task when it comes to making judgements in individual cases. We demand that they be both consistent in applying the rule, but also to exhibit “common sense” (which generally is short for “you should agree with me”) in individual cases. Those are contradictory imperatives, but still we expect them to be met. What a mess.

  • Christopher Graham Mar 28, 2013

    Neither attacking or defending Tater Day, nor comparing it to schools. I just happend to have had this post open when I saw the link to the TD event. Just throwing some Confederate flag silliness into Kevin’s social media feed.

    • Andy Hall Mar 28, 2013

      Any opportunity to inject the word “tater” into the discussion is justifiable on its own merit. ;-)

  • Christopher Graham Mar 28, 2013

    You are correct. I must confess that despite my attempt at high-minded indifference…the chance to giggle in public at something called Tater Day was probably my main motivation for bringing it up. :)

  • terry Mar 29, 2013

    The video would not play on my computer so, I must guess on the “enforcing a rule involving the Confederate flag.” Most probably given the hatred for the South, the Tater Day promoters are talking about banning the Confederate flag from their event. I say let the Tater Day folks eat their own taters. I guess it’s okay to offend the Irish Confederates.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 29, 2013

      Wow. You are no fun at all.

Leave a Comment