Forreston Students Protest Suspension Over Confederate Clothing

By Laura Gibbs
13 News

What goes on in the south isn’t always acceptable to those here in Northern Illinois. That’s the lesson that many Forreston High School students got as they spent the day in trouble. The students say Friday, they were told not to wear confederate clothing. Forreston Sophomore William Matthew Norris read from a poem Friday, saying, "They have said you can’t be you so it is said by many a leader, stand up."

And that’s what this group of Forreston High School students did when one of their own was told that the confederate flag on his belt buckle was inappropriate. Andrew Ludwig says, "They were like, ‘You can take it off now and you won’t be suspended.’"

Ludwig was suspended for 3 days. He also says he was threatened to be arrested for a hate crime and at one point he was told he would be suspended for 2 years. It’s because of what he went through that his classmates are now joining his pledge to stick up for the red, white and blue. Ludwig says, "I have so much honor for the flag. I have family members who died fighting under the confederate flag and I told them it was honoring family members like we honor men and women today."

Those who participated in the protest wore shirts saying heritage not hate but they also spent the day at in school suspension. One parent of the students says this flag controversy is way out of hand. Vicki Norris says, "I think the last thing on these kids minds is any racial undertones. That’s just ridiculous."

Vicki says the students learned a lesson that’s rarely taught in school. She says her son learned to stand-up for what he believes is right.

So far none of the parents say they are going to go after the school district. The school’s principal tells 13 News this is a confidential matter between students and administrators.

As for what to wear, some of the students tell 13 News tonight that they don’t intend on making any major wardrobe changes.

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