You may remember a few months ago a story that I covered concerning two North Carolina high school students, who were photographed waving Confederate flags while on a class trip to Gettysburg. I offered my thoughts in a series of posts that included why my own students were cautioned about purchasing flags in the gift shop during a tour that I led this past March. And I even invited the father of one of the two North Carolina students to share his perspective.
From the beginning my concerns came down to the need on the part of all parties involved, especially educators, to think carefully about how they utilize Confederate flags in the classroom and in public. The photograph of the two girls that was innocently uploaded to social media caused a great deal of misunderstanding and mistrust in their own community, which I suspect the local school board is still dealing with.
Of course, the bigger problem is that the photograph is now permanently available online and can be used by anyone to advance their cause. Earlier today a reader passed on the image below advertising a Confederate heritage rally in Mississippi earlier this month.
See anything familiar? With a little understanding of Photshop our two students went from walking the fields of Gettysburg on a class trip to campaigning to prevent an elected official in Mississippi from moving forward on changing his state’s flag. The sky is the limit as to what other agendas these two students might find themselves supporting.
With everything that has taken place this summer let’s hope that educators are more careful about how they employ Confederate iconography in the classroom and on class trips.