North Carolina County Schools Ban Confederate, KKK Apparel
The school district of Orange County, N.C., made the decision to ban students from wearing Confederate flags, swastikas and any other KKK-associated symbols on school grounds, according to the Daily Tarheel. The clothing ban also extends to buttons, patches, jewelry and makeup.
The school board made the decision on Monday night following vigils held in Orange County in response to the events in Charlottesville, Va.
"The new policy gives our staff the permission to ensure that the learning environment in each of our schools and in each of our classrooms is free of intimidation and distraction with regards to dress and symbols of speech," said Todd Wirt, the school system's superintendent, in a Facebook post Monday night.
"I'm saddened that it took loss of life in Charlottesville to convince the Board of what we've been saying all along," Stacey Sewall, Hate-Free Schools Coalition member, said in an email. "But I'm heartened that this change is now in place before the beginning of the new school year."
Sewell is curious if Orange County's decision will motivate neighboring school districts to do the same.
Orange County's new dress code also bans clothing with symbols meant to intimidate other students on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or religious affiliation.
The responses to the Facebook post announcing this change have mostly been positive, although many parents are asking the school district to take greater steps to reduce school bullying. Others are requesting the school also ban Black Lives Matter, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro symbols, too.
It will be interesting to see if this Confederate clothing ban extends to other counties and states in response to the recent events in Charlottesville, but it likely will cause debate over First Amendment's protections.