Nixa School Board Reaffirms Ban as T-Shirt Controversy Escalates
By: Laura Kennedy
Updated: May 9, 2013
NIXA, Mo. — The Nixa School District heard at least a dozen public comments about a banned article of clothing Thursday night.
Two weeks ago, a student was sent home from school when he wore a confederate flag shirt and refused to change clothes. The shirt is a memorial to his brother Colby Snider, who died one year ago.
Snider’s family says he loved the symbol of the rebel flag, so his family and friends wanted to wear the flag shirts in his memory.
But the school district said no, which is why a group of concerned citizens made their case to the school board.
The Nixa Public School District has a policy specifically banning the confederate flag from students’ clothing. District leaders say there has been a history of violent acts associated with the symbol in this area, so their policy is specific and concrete.
But Colby’s family says the flag doesn’t mean anything hateful to them. The shirts read "heritage, not hate." They feel they should be able to wear the shirts to school.
"I want to wear this shirt to memorialize my brother and in no way to hate anybody or anything like that it’s simply where I come from and where my family comes from," Colby’s brother Collin Snider said.
"We have had a history of racial tension in this school district and based on events that happened 20 years ago we have deemed the confederate battle flag to be one of the things that creates a disruptive and threatening environment for some of our students. For that we do not allow it in our schools, period, no exceptions," Nixa Public Schools Director of Communication Zac Rantz said.
The school board heard the public comment from Colby’s family and friends. However, they decided to uphold the ban.
Had they decided to allow the shirts, it would’ve been an exception to a rule that’s been in this district for more than 20 years.
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