Students defy Indiana school’s ban on Confederate attire

Victor Skinner, 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Several students at Bloomington High School North wanted school officials to know what they think of a recently imposed ban on the Confederate flag in school.

So they simply ignored the school decree issued Wednesday and donned Confederate clothing anyway to protest the decision, The Indy Channel reports.

The controversy started when some students wore Confederate flags as capes earlier this week, arguing the display is constitutionally protected free speech. Principal Jeffry M. Henderson disagreed, and issued a ban on the symbol Wednesday night, as well as a prepared statement outlining his reasoning for the censorship, according to Fox 59.

“Throughout the day, this issue has evolved into one that has created a substantial disruption to the educational environment,” Henderson wrote in an email. “As a result, students may no longer wear or display images of the Confederate flag on their clothing or any other personal item while at school or a school-sponsored event or function due to the disruption it has created.”

confederateattire_small Students defy Indiana school’s ban on Confederate attire Students

He elaborated in a letter sent home to parents.

“The Supreme Court Case Tinker vs. Des Moines established a litmus test when schools have the right to limit students’ expression,” he wrote. “That case established the standard that when students’ actions cause substantial disruption to the educational environment, the school can intervene and limit the students’ expression.”

Student LBGTQ activists who have complained about their classmates displaying the Confederate flag broke into tears of jubilation following the ban, Bloomington senior Emma Cannon told The Indy Channel.

“Many people in the room broke into tears,” she said. “I got a bit emotional myself, but there were people in the room who started crying because it was just a very emotionally charged moment. Because this is just a fight that has been happening for so long at Bloomington North and we finally feel like our requests have been answered.”

On Thursday, three students defied the ban and wore clothing with Confederate symbols and were immediately confronted by school officials, who demanded that they change or go home.

Two students opted to comply, while a third took option two, The Indy Channel reports.

The Indianapolis Star points out that Confederate symbols have been a touchy subject in Indiana schools lately.

“Earlier this month, pictures taken from Snapchat and circulated through other social media showed the Confederate flag at a party,” according to the news site. “One image contained the caption, ‘Confederate lives matter,’ seemingly mocking the Black Lives Matter movement.”

The images prompted some students at the school, North Central High School, to organize a protest outside of a football game on Oct. 7.