FAYETTE COUNTY — The principal at a Fayette County middle school has banned all clothing with the confederate flag emblem. That’s after black students said they were offended when a group of white students staged a protest by wearing Dixie Outfitter shirts.

The principal says the students wearing the confederate flags disrupted the learning process. But students who wee disciplined for wearing the shirts say it’s the black students who disrupted education all because they don’t understand why they celebrate the flag.

“If our students were taught the right thing in school then they wouldn’t have a problem with this,” says student Lyndsey Coleman.

The Flat Rock Middle School student is one of several students who were placed in In-School Suspension after they all wore shirts with the confederate flag emblem. That was in protest of another student who was disciplined for wearing a similar Dixie Outfitter shirt.

The protest angered and offended some black students and teachers.

“Well I could see how they would be offended if they thought it was because of slavery or racism, but it has nothing to do with racism or hate. It has to do with Southern heritage and Southern pride,” says Coleman.

The school system says the protest disrupted school. So a letter went home with students explaining: clothing with confederate flags will no longer be tolerated.

Some parents say that’s not fair and said it’s a double standard when black students can wear clothing some white students find offensive.

“They can wear Malcolm X and we all know that he was a very violent leader,” said parent Evie Harris.

Some parents say their kids are only celebrating their heritage. But another parent says there’s a time and a place to put that heritage on display.

“If it’s something that’s causing a disruption then it needs to be addressed,” says parent Nicole Moore. “You really can’t wear things that are offensive – or maybe offensive to someone.”

Some parents took their kids out of school because they say the controversy has black students threatening white students.

A school district spokesperson says she knew of no threats or discipline problems at the school.
Copyright 2006 by WSBTV.com

On The Web: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/10019498/detail.html