Education

Dress code change in Orange County schools passes 1st vote

Posted June 12
Updated June 13

— 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.

4 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 12, 8:40 p.m.
    user avatar

    Are they going to ban other slogans also

  • Tim Orr Jun 12, 5:29 p.m.
    user avatar

    I have to disagree. The flag in the picture has never been a symbol of The South. It is a misrepresented form of the Tennessee Battle Flag. This battle flag was surely a symbol of hatred. It was about hating a group of people forcing another group to belong to a union with values they did not support. This flag was flown as Armies went to battle to attempt to secede from The Union. Black and White fought on both sides, Black and White died on both sides. I'm so tried of the ignorant people running this government. Especially the ones who claim to be educated and enlightened. I wish the NAACP gurus would go to the Museum of History and look for the Thomas Day furniture display. Learn about the Free Black man that owned slaves, was respected by the White community of the time and had a very successful career, here in the South. Proof you can succeed if you work.

  • Clarence Drumgoole Jun 12, 4:56 p.m.
    user avatar

    It's not the Flag! Why is it allowed to used as a symbol of "HATE"? Anyone heritage offended by that?

  • Jeff Freuler Jun 12, 4:27 p.m.
    user avatar

    That is a decent policy as it can be used to address clothing on both sides