Workers remove name of man tied to racist speech from Durham school
Posted August 24
Updated August 25
Durham, N.C. — Nearly two weeks after the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Durham Public Schools board members unanimously passed changes ito the student dress code Thursday evening.
The changes will prohibit items that board members determined intimidate other students, including clothing that depicts the Confederate flag, the swastika and the Ku Klux Klan.
"These things, historically, were meant for hate, or at some point in history, meant hatred," board Chairman Mike Lee said.
The school system also unanimously determined that Julian Carr's name will be removed from the building housing the Durham School of the Arts. It was removed Friday.
Carr, a prominent and well-known businessman in the 1800s, openly bragged about beating an African-American woman at the dedication of the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1913. Superintendent Bert L'Homme said Carr was a racist.
"Such displays pose a significant risk of spontaneous confrontation between students at school, which the district has experienced," L'Homme said.
Carr was a Confederate soldier and an outspoken white supremacist.
In addition to the Durham School of the Arts, Carr has several buildings named after him - one at Duke University and one at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The town of Carrboro is also named after him. There was talk last year of the town possibly changing its name, but there were no changes made.
Students in Durham Public Schools are already prohibited from wearing clothing, jewelry, book bags and other articles that could reasonably create a disruption at school.
The policy change is almost identical to the changes adopted by Orange County Public Schools.
Chip Sudderth, a spokesperson for the Durham district, said the district is prepared for the discussion about a student’s right to freedom of speech.
"First Amendment considerations are very important, but principals have authority to keep the school environment safe and inclusive and welcoming," Sudderth said. "They have the authority to deal with student expression that has a reasonable chance of causing disruptions or intimation in the classroom.
"This isn't about regulating speech, it's about keeping our classrooms focused on learning."