Confederate flag debate flares in school tribute
A typical week at Lawrence County High School turned tense. It was bad enough that classmates had lost a friend, after 15-year-old Kyle Anderson was killed in a 4-wheeler accident last Friday. But then a tribute to his memory went awry.
Principal Mickey Dunn said, "Kyle didn’t have a prejudiced or mean bone in his body, but he did have an affinity for southern heritage and southern culture."
As a tribute, some students showed up this week wearing the Confederate battle flag on their shirts.
"This morning it was like the black people here, and like a whole table of people with southern heritage shirts on, and another whole table with southern heritage shirts on," said student Desmond McGuire.
Students like Desmond felt conflicted…was it truly a tribute to southern heritage or a symbol of hate? When it comes to the Confederate flag, that has long been the debate.
Student Cody McAnaley said, "Some of them were making racist remarks against other people, and that’s not what we had intended it to do at all."
"They were going to hand out some flyers about the Confederate flag, and that if you thought it was hatred, then you needed a history lesson, that kind of thing," said Dunn.
Principal Dunn had had enough. On Thursday morning he called an assembly letting students air their thoughts. What they came up with was quite a compromise.
Dunn said, "I think you’ve got to give the vast majority of the credit for this to the kids."
It turned out that Kyle also loved camoflauge clothing and NASCAR. So on Friday, students are wearing something else – a sticker that shows their love and support for Kyle. The student council has even come up with a t-shirt for kids to wear, with a red and black #8 – Dale Earnhart’s number.