SOUTHERN HERITAGE NOT HATRED

We are three students of Warren County High School. We, and several of our friends, are concerned about the misinterpretation of the meaning of the Confederate flag by some of the students and staff at our school.

Some people may find the flag to be offensive, but we do not wear it to offend. We wear it to show our pride for the South and for our heritage. If we cannot wear clothing to show our heritage (such as shirts that display the Confederate flag), is it acceptable for African American students to wear clothing that represents their heritage (such as African garb or shirts displaying black leaders such as Malcolm X)? We wear this flag only to honor our Southern heritage, to honor those that fought for the freedom of the South, and to honor the South today.

The First Amendment of the American Constitution states that every American individual has the right of freedom of speech. Our school’s dress code policy states that clothing cannot contain offensive material. The Confederate flag shirts worn at school contain none of the "banned" material described in our handbook (such as profanity, images of alcohol, nudity, or illegal substances.) Obviously, we understand that these messages are not allowed because they are illegal (high-schoolers cannot drink alcohol or come to school topless). However, the image of the Confederate flag is not illegal. The flag can only be offensive if someone is of the opinion that it is. In our opinion, the Confederate flag is not offensive, and in public places (such as public schools), all students should be allowed to express themselves. A banned Confederate flag silences our thoughts and expressions of our heritage.

As students of Warren County High School, it is our hope that all students’ beliefs can be respected. For us, the Confederate flag represents a very important part of our heritage – Southern pride and independence.

Danielle Cameron, 10th Grade
Samantha Thompson, 9th Grade
Brittany Proctor, 9th Grade