Students Continue to Display Rebel Flags at BHS

Broadway, Va.

Confederate flags are still on display on some vehicles at Broadway High School.
Posted: Sep 21, 2009
Reporter: McKinsey Harris
   
Confederate flags are still on display on some vehicles at Broadway High School.

After students were asked to remove them last week, other students got involved to support the ones who were disciplined, and it even escalated into racial comments being spoken.

The school’s principal had two conferences Monday morning with parents of minority students, and while the issue is upsetting that group, the students displaying the flags say they’re not doing it out of hate.

With a rebel flag flying behind his car, BHS Junior Wesley Riggleman says he and his friends thought it’d be a cool idea.

"We just don’t wake up in the morning and put flags on and drive to school and then come home and take them off. It’s not like that. We put them on there, it’s going to be on there all day, every day," says Riggleman.

Principal Steve Leaman says the school had additional law enforcement there Monday morning because of similar incidents in the past that ended with racial tension.

"The one incident, a student was beat up because of flags. In another incident flags were stolen and racist comments put on the car," says Leaman.

About ten students are displaying the flags, and Riggleman says they’re doing it for their heritage, while others took it too far.

"Some people evidently took it the wrong way and didn’t know what it was all about and they did pick on a couple students," says Riggleman.

Leaman says texts and online comments have created additional turmoil for the school. However, while the amount of students displaying flags isn’t growing, they aren’t ready to back down.

"I think the students that are involved are becoming solidified in their passionate values and student rights," says Leaman.

"We’re going to keep on doing it. I mean, cause that’s what we believe in. We ain’t going to stop doing something just because somebody wants us to because they don’t like it," says Riggleman.

Leaman says officials won’t force the students remove the flags, but they will ask them to be removed.

Riggleman’s mother actually picked him up early from school Monday to avoid any potential conflicts from her son displaying a confederate flag on his car.

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