Students suspended for wearing Confederate flags to protest gay rainbow flag
At Tahoma High School in the nether suburbs of Seattle, it’s totally okay to display a gay-pride flag, but two juniors were suspended for three days for wearing Confederate flags at school.
An unnamed school district spokesman said that a sophomore had been exhibiting a gay-pride flag at Tahoma High for the last two weeks, reports local CBS affiliate KIRO. When the two juniors showed up on Tuesday in a common area wearing the Confederate flags as a political statement in response, they were suspended.
School officials said the Confederate flags caused a disruption because some students were upset. The officials added that the garb was an undisclosed violation of the Tahoma High dress code.
At least one of the unidentified, Confederate flag-wearing students wore the controversial symbol around his neck in some fashion.
Local residents supported the school’s decision, according to KIRO.
“I can see where we wouldn’t okay that,” said concerned aunt Tiki Scroggins, who was at at school to pick up her nephew. “There’s too many ethnic backgrounds that that could offend.”
“It’s about the attitude,” she added.
Students with whom the CBS affiliate spoke also voiced support for the suspension. They noted that it’s one thing to see the flag on a vehicle, but another to see it at school.
“You don’t expect, like, kids to show up with a Confederate flag on their back,” senior Coleman Wooten said.
It’s not clear if the two juniors will fight their suspensions.
In February, school officials in Wolcott, Conn reversed a prior decision to prohibit a high school student from wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with an anti-gay message. (RELATED: Connecticut high school student can wear anti-gay shirt after all)
The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut represented the student, Seth Groody.
The civil liberties organization had previously warned that it was ready to sue the school district to protect Groody’s First Amendment rights.
The white t-shirt was festooned with a bold, red “universal no” circle and slash mark symbol superimposed over a multicolored rainbow. The other side of the shirt contained male and female stick figures holding hands and the words “Excessive Speech Day.”
Groody had worn the shirt to Wolcott High School on a day that had been designated as a day of awareness concerning the harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.