Florida high school, Kentucky employer back off

A high school principal in Florida and a contract employer in Kentucky this week abandoned positions imposing bans on Confederate symbols, after intervention by the SLRC in each case.

After receiving a letter from the SLRC, the principal of Mitchell High School in New Port Ritchey (Pascoe County), Florida, informed a student’s mother that the school’s ban on Confederate symbols would be lifted when school begins next week. Last Spring school officials demanded that the female student change out of a t-shirt with a small Confederate flag on the front because, they said, it was “representative of racism.” Repeated attempts by the mother to open a discussion with school administrators met with no success. In a Monday e-mail the principal informed the parent that he had received the SLRC’s letter and apologized for not having been in contact with her sooner.

The Mitchell High victory is especially significant because it occurred in the Federal appellate courts’ notoriously anti-Southern Heritage Eleventh Circuit. The SLRC is currently pursuing another school case in Lake County, Florida.

In Kentucky, the head of security at a Job Corps center in Morganfield told contract maintenance engineer Rick Chennault that he would have to remove a Confederate flag and Sons of Confederate Veterans bumper stickers from his pickup truck or face termination. Chennault’s wife contacted the SLRC, and SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk Lyons in turn called the security officer. Later that day the security officer informed Chennault that he was perfectly free to display his Confederate symbols.

Chennault is the grandson of Gen. Claire L. Chennault, founder of the legendary WWII fighter squadron “The Flying Tigers.”

“This sort of thing goes on more often than folks realize,” said SLRC Executive Director Roger McCredie. Sometimes I think the heritage defense cases we have in court get all the headlines and nobody pays much attention to the ones we prevent.”