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Should Students Be Allowed to Wear a Confederate Flag to School?

Some view the flag as a symbol of southern heritage, while others see it as racist.

A mother said her daughter received a one-day suspension for wearing a confederate flag sweatshirt to Kreps Middle School, according to a report in The Trenton Times

School officials would not comment on this student’s case Monday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey said they are not taking position on the specific case, but said students have the right to express themselves.

“The Constitution protects the rights of students to express themselves. Students cannot be disciplined just for wearing their ideas on their shirt,” said Katie Wang, spokeswoman for ACLU of New Jersey. 

The issue is one that has surfaced elsewhere around the U.S. and even made its way into the federal courts.

Earlier this year, a federal court upheld a Tennessee school's rule barring students from wearing or displaying Confederate flags in school. 

There's a thorough analysis of how courts have handled the issue, here.

But how far can school officials go? In Virginia, a school bus driver has been told he will lose his job unless he loses the Confederate flag decal on his pickup truck.

And University of Virginia law school students got into some trouble when a photo appeared of a party with a Confederate flag-themed beer pong table.

What do you think? Should the display of the Confederate flag be barred in East Windsor schools? Tell us in the comments. 

Justin VanHandel November 15, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Also, the original American flag had 13 stars on it. Each of those stars represented a colony. Each of those colonies supported slavery. That being said, can I fly an old style American flag and not be considered racist?
Leslie Bianczik November 15, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Sikhs murdered Indira Gandhi. I guess anyone wearing a turban supports murder?
Leslie Bianczik November 15, 2011 at 05:41 PM
Just curious, if I wear a Penn State jersey does that mean I am supporting pedophilia?
whatever41 November 15, 2011 at 05:42 PM
This is the United States of America, not the Confederate Union. The following is a comment made by the mother Ms. West & an answer by the principal " The Indian kids wear their turbans. The Jewish kids wear their yarmulkes. That’s their birthright,” she said. “I told him that Torri was born in Virginia. That flag is her heritage and I’m not telling her to take it off. He said ‘I guess she’ll have to suffer the consequences.’” Their garb is not a heritage, it's a religion. Is Ms. West claiming the Confederacy a religion? Please Justin, would you kindly expound on what the Confederate Flag did represent & the Confederacy stand for? Why don't you ask some of our Veterans how they feel on the subject. The Civil War was brutal for both sides, I don't think we should keep dragging up ghosts to remind us of the horror. No we will never forget, but this is the 21st Century, let's look to the future. God Bless the United States of America.
whatever41 November 15, 2011 at 05:43 PM
that's turban not turbines,,,,
Justin VanHandel November 15, 2011 at 06:04 PM
the confederate flag has always had meaningss of rebellion, patriotism, self-determination, dissent, freedom, and liberty. The north was plagued with slavery just as much as the south, yet somehow you believe that the north was fighting the south solely about slavery. The student that was suspended was from the south, so why is it so wrong for her to show respect for her ancestors in the civil war?
Marc Covitz November 15, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Hi Justin: You are correct that the Civil War was about more than slavery. It was about the differing views of the economic way of life between the north and south. Slaves played a critical role in the economy of the south. They were the labor force that made the south what it was. While the north had slaves they had many more rights in the north than in the south. Also, the north outlawed slavery much earlier than the south. Wearing the confederate flag does not show respect for one's ancestors who fought in the civil war. Using your logic, should German Americans wera swastikas to show respect for their ancestors who fought in WWII? WWII was about more than the Holocaust. Slavery, like the Holocaust, was about the systematic oppression of a race of people that did not end (technically) until the Civil Rights Act. As I said earlier, there are many better things to honor someone's "southern heritage" than the Confederate flag.
Justin VanHandel November 15, 2011 at 06:48 PM
The holocaust is not even close to comparable to the civil war. The holocaust was a genocide of an entire group of people, a mass murder. That is nothing to be proud about. Fighting for your rights however, is. The south was fighting for their freedom from the northern states and federal government. Maybe they didn't have the same beliefs as you, but that's no reason to tell this student she's wrong for honoring her ancestors and what they believed in.
Dave Bell November 15, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Alot of wars and hatred has been committed in the name of almost all religions. In turn do you ban all symbols of religion? Just by removing a symbol does not erase the past. And yes the flag is miss understood as just pure symbol of slavery, but it was about states rights versus federal over bearing. It should be a time to discuss events of the Civil War. Didn't they just have a re-enactment of a Civil War encampment at the Kreps school?
Marc Covitz November 15, 2011 at 07:11 PM
It is interesting how you are unable to come to grips with the fact that what we (Americans) did to Blacks during the time of slavery was equivalent to not just the Holocaust during WWII but any Holocaust that has ever happened in this world. In fact, it may have been worse than the Holocaust. I'm not sure if you know this but it is thought that during the couple hundred years of slavery, about 22 million Blacks were killed. Are you aware of the conditions that Blacks endured coming over here? Piled in the hulls of ships, chained to each other, with little food or water and full of disease. Over half of them never got here because they died in transit. The south wasn't just fighting for freedom they were fighting to maintain their economic way of life which slavery was an essential part (free labor that you owned). So, any way you slice it, the slavery issue was a key part of the Civil War. So, yes, it is wrong for anyone to "celebrate" ancestors who believed in the priciples of the south during the time of the Civil War by wearing or flying the Confederate flag. Freedom of speech is one thing but outwardly supporting slavery is another.
Justin VanHandel November 15, 2011 at 07:47 PM
you're just not getting it. The confederate flag and racism are two totally different things. Did I say I supported slavery? Did the article say the mom or the daughter supported slavery? No. the meaning of many symbols depend on how people perceive them. People like you are the ones turning this into a race issue. The confederate flag was never meant to symbolize hatred or racism, and anyone who uses the flag to symbolize that is wrong. You need to do some research on the history of the confederate flag and stop turning everything into "black vs. white". Not everything is a race issue.
Joe VanHandel November 15, 2011 at 07:52 PM
I agree with Justin. It's how u perceive it.
Marc Covitz November 15, 2011 at 08:11 PM
The swastika was never meant to symbolize the Holocaust either. It was a symbol of the Nazi Party like the elephant is the symbol of the Republcan Party. The Nazi's were not only about exterminating anyone who was not Aryan. They were fighting to maintain their economic way of life as they saw it. However, 99% of people associate the swastika with the Holocaust and white supremacy. Most people, especially African Americans, associate the Confederate flag with slavery. Basically Justin, you are not getting it. This girl is likely offending a good number of students and staff (black and white) by wearing a shirt with a symbol that most "perceive" as a racist symbol. As Joe said below it's how you perceive it. Do you think it would be ok for someone to wear a shirt with a swastika on it to school?
Leslie Bianczik November 15, 2011 at 08:16 PM
It's interesting how you keep insisting this is about slavery...and blaming the South, only, for slavery . Go back to Justin's post. He says, "holocaust is not even close to comparable to the civil war". To which you reply with a comparison of the holocaust and slavery. The Confederate flag is a symbol of the Civil War, not a symbol of slavery. You said it yourself "the couple hundred years of slavery". The Civil War lasted what, 5 years? You completely excuse the north because they figured out slavery was wrong first and act like slavery is something the South invented.
whatever41 November 15, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Forget it Marc, these people are not going to get it. This woman just wants the PR she doesn't care about her child or the situation. She wants the attention, period!!! Ask the media people who interviewed her.
whatever41 November 15, 2011 at 09:47 PM
The student was "born" in VA. she was raised right here in East Windsor NJ. by her grandmother.
David Golembieski November 15, 2011 at 10:19 PM
So tell me, would you be offended and suspend a student if they came in wearing the Mississippi State Flag? It is quite literally red, white, and blue bars with the entire confederate flag, no altercation, tucked in the top left corner. This should be an outrage, and unacceptable to you, yes?
Eugene E Sarafin November 15, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Enough already. The care custody and control of students is by the school district.They make the decision as to what is acceptable. They are the final arbitrator. The courts have upheld School decisions. So you all can go back to loving Jesus, loving the confederate flag, and loving to be totally ignorant.
David Golembieski November 16, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Those assumptions are quite premature, and I am not sure what evidence you have to back those up about everyone that believes the opposite of you on this issue. But regardless, the issue at hand is not who has the final decision, it is whether or not the decision was appropriate. You seem to be saying that a higher authority is always correct, that if, for example, a man was sentenced to life in prison by a judge when there is clear evidence that he did not commit a crime, you would uphold the judge's decision. Unless this is your belief, i do not see how the schools having the final decision simply ends the issue.
Leslie Bianczik November 16, 2011 at 01:00 PM
"these people"??? What do you mean "these people"?
Leslie Bianczik November 16, 2011 at 01:03 PM
@marc covitz "Most people, especially African Americans, associate the Confederate flag with slavery." If you want to intelligently debate an issue you can't just make up stats to support your argument. I guarantee you cannot produce any evidence to support your assertion that "most people associate the confederate flag with slavery".
whatever41 November 16, 2011 at 02:15 PM
How old were you when you started wearing shoes?
whatever41 November 16, 2011 at 02:25 PM
This whole situation has become a "dog and pony show". The school was within their rights. Look again at that kids face, she has "no clue", she already admitted that. End of story!!!!!
Leslie Bianczik November 16, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Those were not my words. If you look, I was quoting marc covitz.
whatever41 November 16, 2011 at 06:18 PM
BTW my fellow Americans, if you read the statements by her classmates, you'll find the actual problem was not the shirt, it was the mouth.
whatever41 November 17, 2011 at 02:25 PM
See CBS NEWS .COM,,, also a report in The Trenton Times.
whatever41 November 17, 2011 at 05:00 PM
This entire mess has consumed enough of my time and everyones. I believe this nut case & her pathetic offspring "should" go to VA. where they'll both be more comfortable with their ancestors & their heritage. Goodbye, good luck, get lost. Happy Holidays
Tyler December 04, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Its freedom of speech i wear my Confederate buckle to school every day and dam well proud of it. All u people who thinks its racist well why wen African americans wear t shirts that say black power its all good but god for bid if i wore a shirt or a hat that said white power i would be called a big racist anyone wont to awnser that for me because is it bad to be proud of being white then this an't my AMERICA (somonerrspond
whatever41 December 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Goodbye, good luck, get lost. Happy Holidays,,, and please take another class in english.
Joe R December 04, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Excuse me, but when did the Confederate battle flag become the flag of the US? When did we start pledging allegiance to the flag of the Confederate States of America? The CSA stood for slavery (slavery was written into the CSA constitution) and injustice, nothing to be proud of.

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