Local News

Flag Ban Lifted at Sampson County School

Posted September 13, 2007

— Public outcry over a flag ban forced a reversal of policy Wednesday at a Sampson County school.

Last year, Hobbton High School in Newton Grove banned students from wearing clothing bearing flags after some teens wore foreign flags as gang symbols. The ban outraged a lot of parents and students.

"I think it's wrong," said Jessica Langston.

Langston, a senior at the school, said she was disappointed when she couldn't wear a "Remember September 11" T-shirt because it had an American flag depicted on it.

"We have people fighting for us, and we can't wear T-shirts to support them," said Langston.

"It's a disgrace not to be able to wear the American flag," said Gayle Langston, her mother.

Gayle Langston turned her anger into action, sending e-mails and making phone calls to anyone who would listen. E-mails protesting the flag ban came from as far away as China and Hawaii. She got Steve Edwards' attention.

"I had two tours in Vietnam. I didn't know whether to get sick, cry or pray," said Edwards.

He opted to fight for the flag again, using words not weapons this time to get his point across.

"I had to talk to somebody. This was not right," said Edwards.

Late Wednesday, the school lifted the flag ban.

"Effective immediately, the ban is rescinded, including the wearing of flags at Hobbton," said Dr. L. Stewart Hobbs, Jr., the school superintendent.

"Mission accomplished. That's what it was all about – standing up for what's right," said Gayle Langston.

The Langston family said they will continue to monitor the flag policy.

Hobbs said the school board plans to meet with its lawyer next week to determine if any changes should be made to the dress code. He maintains the school district is patriotic, and he said he wished this situation had been handled differently.


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

Oldest First
View all
  • SANDHILL Sep 13, 2007

    Foreign flags-no, The American flag yes, that makes sense to me.

  • Nope Sep 13, 2007

    "To me it represents Southern raising, being a Southern gentleman, and Southern hospitality. It represents saying grace and saying "yes ma'am". It represents respect."


  • doodad Sep 13, 2007

    Somebody open up a can of whoopass

  • Crone Sep 13, 2007

    Patriots are idiots.

  • git-er-done Sep 13, 2007

    to Steve Crisp: I appreciate your view point. Mine does not differ that much. In my previous comment it should have said "believe in following the etiquette as much as possible". I too fly the flag 24/7 without a special light (I do have an area light).

    For the most part, it only upsets me when people use the flag during a protest, especially if being desecrated.

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 13, 2007

    Here we go again blaming the parents. What kind of discipline and involvement do you expect little Jose, the MS-13 gang-banger, to receive from his parents? Parents, who most likely flouted the law to enter the country, and by significant probability, are illiterate in both English AND their native tongue.

    Given that gangs are merely a proxy for ethnic allegiance, uniforms, plain white t-shirts, etc, etc, aren't going to solve the problem. Waxing nostalgic over the trouble-free schools of your past is comparing apples to oranges. Your childhood school was most likely much more ethnically homogeneous than those of today.

    The problem isn't going away; in fact, the desperate race that parents endure to move further and further out into the suburbs so they can get little Johnny into a "good school" (read: white school) is accelerating at a breakneck speed.

  • 911med24-7 Sep 13, 2007

    The blame has been put on the wrong person here. The blame falls on the some students and their parents. Because of gang problems, everyone has to suffer. If parents were more active with their children and ruled them with an iron fist like mine did, there wouldn't be these kind of problems.
    I don't agree that an American Flag was banned, but the Principal did that for the safety for all the students in the school and should be thanked. How would it look if a student was allowed to wear the shirt and the student seriously hurt because they wore it? Would there be complaints then? Of course! You can't please everyone. It all comes down to safety.
    I believe that all students should have to wear a plain white shirt tucked in and dark pants (that fit) to keep from seperating out races/beliefs and keep everyone on the same page.
    As a paramedic, I thank the Principal for going the extra mile to make a few mad to protect others so my services weren't needed that day or any other day.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Sep 13, 2007

    I kind of like that idea doodad...

  • doodad Sep 13, 2007

    People talk about having less government control, yet many are so lax about teaching their kids discipline, respect, and survival they expect the public school system to instill character into their kids. Isn't that relying on the government more and more? If we continue having more undisciplined kids, I think it should be manditory for any drop out to have to report to military school. Aside from handicaps, it should be a law that every child in the US earn a HS diploma by the time they are 18 years old. Just my opinion.

  • Travised Sep 13, 2007

    I remember "back then" I was in a private school. Slacks, dress shirt or polo shirt were required for attire. Talk about not having problems. Two days a week it was enforced to wear ties. Needless to say I learned very young how to tie the proper full knot.

    Now it's whatever is closest to the bed, throw it on and don't look like a slob.

    We had problems a few years ago with jerseys and colors... then it was bandanas or other head covers. The school is trying to find a PC way to fix this issue. forget PC. Enforce the gang and or group "type" rule the schools have in the student handbooks. Hand out standard punishments for violations.

    When I left the private school (ended 8th grade) I ended up in public and wore patches on my jacket of the US flag and my family heritage, German. If I would have been ordered to take them off I would have objected strongly as well.