Students Protest Over Confederate Flag Ban

Thursday, April 8, 2004

RICHMOND — Students across Virginia are protesting school board policies that prevent them from wearing clothes depicting the Confederate flag. More than 80 students recently showed up at their Campbell County high school wearing Confederate flag T-shirts. They were angry that the principal had ordered nearly two dozen students the previous day to change their shirts.

Fifteen of the students were suspended.

The principal said minority students said the shirts made them uneasy.

The mother of a high school student in Richmond County complained to the school board Wednesday night that district policies preventing her daughter from wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt to school were unfair.

Brag Bowling, Virginia division commander for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, says these types of protests are growing because students are angry over unclear policies on clothing that advocates a political or social agenda.

But Kent Willis, head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Virginia, says school officials are treading a fine line when they ban certain types of clothing. He says the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools must prove the clothing is disruptive.