Parents want Confederate flag emblems out of Orange schools
Posted February 17
Hillsborough, N.C. — A growing number of Orange County parents are pushing to ban Confederate flag emblems from public school property.
The flag isn't flown on school grounds, but nothing prevents students from putting its likeness on their cars or their clothes.
LaTarndra Strong said she was taken aback when she found more than a few Confederate flag images at Orange High School.
"Kids (were) wearing the Confederate flags either on their shirts or their hats. Some of them had them on the front of their cars," Strong said.
Although the school dress code prohibits clothing that is disruptive, offensive or obscene, Strong said Principal Eric Yarborough sent her a letter after she complained to say that "display of the Confederate flag is consistent with Board policy" and that "the school is not in a position to ban the display of the flag."
"I was surprised," Strong said. "I really thought, when I went to talk to the principal, that I was going to be sharing something that maybe was a blind spot for him."
Orange County Schools Superintendent Todd Wirt, other district officials and members of the Board of Education didn't return phone calls and emails requesting comment.
After hearing similar concerns from other parents, Strong formed the Coalition for Hate-Free Schools, which she said has grown to more than 125 members in a few months.
Chuck Willingham, a member of the group, said, "When I talk to my African-American colleagues and friends, they don't have the luxury of deciding what the flag means to them. They know what it means."
Orange High students said the flag isn't much of an issue on campus.
Hunter Pyatte, 17, said he's proud to display the Confederate flag.
"I don't use it as a hate symbol. It's where I come from. It's what I am," Pyatte said.