Mike Mueller

Some students at Waynesboro High School like to express their southern heritage with Confederate clothing, but others are taking offense, sparking debate from both sides.

"We wear a little rebel flag and we get barked at," says Waynesboro Junior Shawn Terrell. "It doesn’t make any sense."

Terrell and his friends like to wear Confederate clothing.

"It’s just my heritage," he says. "[I was] Born and raised in the South. I’m a southern boy. That’s all it is."

Lately, the rebel logo is causing disruption in class, so much that teachers are asking Terrell and others to take them off.

"We can only ask students to change their shirts or to not wear something if it is disrupting instruction in our schools, but we have to prove that," says Waynesboro Principal Sue Wright.

But senior Brett Wallace doesn’t see why it’s such a big deal.

"I just think it’s a flag," he says. "It’s a southern flag, and if you want to fly it, fly it."

There is no ban on wearing Confederate clothing to school. The school sees this debate as a learning tool for students.

"What a perfect time to have a hard issue come up and discuss it in an educational environment, and my staff is using it that way," says Wright.

Stressing respect, which both Terrell and Wallace do, and stressing it’s not a racial statement.

"Heritage, not hate," says Terrell. "That’s all it is, heritage. Not hate."

Administrators are talking with students about the meaning of the flag and have not banned any clothes or handed out any punishments during this heightened debate.

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