Parents want Confederate flag emblems out of Orange schools

Posted February 17

— 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.


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  • Walter Greene Feb 23, 2017
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    And that's the extent of your argument?

  • John Townsend Feb 23, 2017
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    If anything goes so long as it isn't "offensive" then we give a veto to free speech to anyone who claims offense. Better to have a very specific uniform like dress code. Business casual, collared shirts, no slogans, symbols or logos, etc. but then the same people perpetually offended will complain of lack of individual expression.

  • Tim Orr Feb 21, 2017
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    I come to work everyday and see flags from all sorts of other countries. One car even has a plate that say Black Reign on the front. Just remember, March is National Hug a White Person month.

  • Chanel Spencer Feb 21, 2017
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    The ignorance in this thread is disheartening.

  • Deborah Turner Feb 19, 2017
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    That old flag is a part of history and was only used as a battle flag during the stand against northern aggression for four short years. The U.S. flag was flown over all the southern states before and after that. Abe Lincoln was the only president to wage war on civilians that lived in the South. He hated the people that lived in the South....Black and white.

  • Mike Trekker Feb 19, 2017
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    Okay, if you remove the Confederate flag, then you need to remove other symbols unique to a particular culture. No "Black Live Matter," t-shirts, no "black History month," symbols no Mexican flags or symbols. At this point I am sure the American flag bothers some people, do we want to remove that too? All the symbols I just listed have promoted violence or condoned violence for its cause. Black History Month has shown the Black Panthers in a positive light.

    Multiculturalism does not work if all of us are so offended by another culture's heritage.

  • Albert Holmes Feb 18, 2017
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    Question # 1 ! Why does WRAL show a Confederate Flag on a pole when we are talking about a patch on a hat or t-shirt and a bumper sticker ! The female LaTarndra Strong and Chuck Willingham are just two people trying to start another racism news story to get their names and pictures on the news and eventually I promise you the NAACP will be marching in ! I have not seen or heard ANY complaint from a student ! The flag is a part of history wether you like it or not. It does not nor has it ever represented hate ! The hate is in the eyes of the beholder ! And Mrs Strong not trying to be rude or ugly but it is none of your business what a person has on their vehicle unless you are the one making the payments. Just another off the wall complaint and news report to cause more trouble and division !

  • Mark Hayes Feb 18, 2017
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    I have often wondered why we have organizations that support individual ethnic groups, they march and advocate for their own rights yet want to dismantle the Southern Heritage of others. WRAL never misses the opportunity to put rev barbers fat rear in the news, for the advancement of colored people.

  • Brittney Hasty Skiff Feb 18, 2017
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    At my high school, no one could wear the confederate flag on any of their clothing. But I got to see t-shirts everyday that said, it is a black thang. You wouldn't understand. 24k black gold, etc. Let's all just wear white t-shirts and black pants

  • Chris Grimes Feb 18, 2017
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    Of course they have a right to wear/display it, just not at school. The school dress code prohibits clothing that is disruptive/offensive, and the confederate battle flag is clearly both. You can claim it celebrates your heritage and ancestors (although the current Confederate flag is not any of the three flags actually adopted by the Confederacy), but that's being disingenuous. The flag became the 'battle cry' of segregation and Jim Crow. Even Mitch McConnell called it "a painful reminder of racial oppression."