Dress code change in Orange County schools passes 1st vote
Posted June 12
Updated June 13
Hillsborough, N.C. — The Orange County School Board on Monday voted on a new policy that would change the system's dress code.
The vote comes after some parents and students called on the system to ban Confederate flags on student clothing and school system property.
Those in favor of a flag ban say it is intimidating and disruptive in classes.
"The Confederate flag is America's Swastika," said Solomon Gibson, who spoke in favor of a ban Monday night.
Others say the flag is part of their heritage and say displaying the flag on clothing is their right
"That flag symbolized bravery and honor," said James Ward, who spoke against a ban on the flag.
After months of debate, school system leaders decided not to outright ban Confederate flags but to reword the system's policy.
The new language, in part, says the following:
"Clothing and accessories are not to substantially disrupt the education process. Students are not to wear clothing, buttons, patches, jewelry or any other items with words, phrases, symbols, pictures or signs that are indecent, profane or racially intimidating."
Originally, the new language said items were not allowed to create "a reasonable forecast of disruption" but that phrase was removed after those pushing for a ban said the language made the policy too weak.
"The presence of visible emblems of hatred in and of themselves are disruptive to the learning of many students," said Stacey Sewell.
The change passed the first of two votes Monday night, with those pushing for a ban calling it a "victory."
"It felt like a win to me," said Latarndra Strong with the Hate Free Schools Coalition.
Strong and others fought for months to ban the Confederate flag from Orange County schools.
"Our schools have finally deemed the Confederate flag intimidating," Strong said. "We can make sure that when the Confederate flag is worn at our schools, that we can bring it to the attention of the teachers and they have to do something about it."
The policy requires a second vote at the next school board meeting.