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Flag Ban Lifted at Sampson County School

Public outcry over a flag ban forced a reversal of policy Wednesday at Hobbton High School in Newton Grove.

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NEWTON GROVE, N.C. — 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"Effective immediately, the ban is rescinded, including the wearing of flags at Hobbton," said Dr.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.


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