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Confederate Flags Wrongfully Displayed Around School

This+is+a+Confederate+flag+sticker+on+the+top+of+an+outlet+in+a+classroom+in+second+hall.+The+stickers+have+also+been+found+in+other+classrooms+in+different+locations.+
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Confederate Flags Wrongfully Displayed Around School

This is a Confederate flag sticker on the top of an outlet in a classroom in second hall. The stickers have also been found in other classrooms in different locations.

This is a Confederate flag sticker on the top of an outlet in a classroom in second hall. The stickers have also been found in other classrooms in different locations.

Katie Huffman

This is a Confederate flag sticker on the top of an outlet in a classroom in second hall. The stickers have also been found in other classrooms in different locations.

Katie Huffman

Katie Huffman

This is a Confederate flag sticker on the top of an outlet in a classroom in second hall. The stickers have also been found in other classrooms in different locations.

By Katie Huffman, Bullitt East High School

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For reasons unknown, students have recently been placing Confederate flag stickers on school property, including on the sides of power outlets and on top of desks, despite the hateful message it brings to African-American students.

According to the 2018 demographics released by The Kentucky Association of School Councils, only 19 out of our 1,493 students are African-American, which is roughly one percent. The Confederate flag stickers have been found in various classrooms and places around the school. What seems to be taken as a joke to some of the other 99 percent of students, is an offensive act that deteriorates the welcoming and inclusive environment our school strives to have.

Roughly three years ago at Bullitt East, a biracial student had a Confederate flag on a pole bashed against their car in the school’s parking lot. It was reported that the perpetrator also continuously used racial slurs while damaging the student’s property. This racist student three years ago knew what they were doing, and by using the Confederate flag in this crime the hateful message the flag has the potential to carry was highlighted. However, it is not clear that the students who are placing the flags around school today, in 2019, know what they are doing or the rude message that they are sending to our African-American students.

Although the Confederate flag does not simply stand as just a symbol of racism, it has the power to do just that. The flag that has been appearing around school is a version of the battle flag that was used by the Confederacy. Aside from it being used to commemorate for the Confederate soldiers after the Civil War, it was also heavily used in the controversy of slavery. The Ku Klux Klan even used the Confederate flag in their rituals after their second rebirth and other white supremacists also claimed the flag. Because of instances like the ones stated before, the Confederate flag took on new meanings that it did not originally intend to hold. When someone promotes the flag, they may use it in a way to demonstrate their “southern pride,” but the history goes way deeper than that.

When a Confederate flag is displayed around our school, it sends the message to African-American students that they are not wanted. It reassures them of what they already knew, which is that they are surrounded by white kids that cannot understand the challenges they face on a daily basis. They walk around school and have to listen to racial slurs seamlessly slip out of the mouths of teenagers, and stand by as they hear other students be cluelessly racist.

While I am a white student at our school, I know what I believe in and I know that I do not want a Confederate flag being placed on the walls and objects within my school. I have seen people take videos on Snapchat of the stickers and laugh about it, although the Confederate flag is nothing to laugh about. The history of the Confederate flag after the Civil War cannot be disregarded, and therefore can be viewed as an image of racism when displayed by students across our school.

As a student body, we should not condone the placement of these stickers around our school. The stickers send a message of racism and hate, whether or not the students placing them intend to send this message. I encourage every person reading this to speak up when they see something happening that is wrong, and take action to make it right.

This story was originally published on Livewire on January 27, 2019.

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