A group of high school students in Arkansas banded together to wear confederate flag gear to support a racist #HistoryNotHate social media hashtag. Administrators swiftly reprimanded the teens citing the offensive attire violated school rules.
The students at Fayetteville High School painted their faces and hands with the offensive flags, wore Confederate flag jackets and hoodies which administrators said violated the school’s policy, causing a disruption in the educational environment.
“I just put Confederate flags on their hands, on their face, wherever they wanted it. During lunch, they had the police, the principal, the vice principal, all the deans, they were all telling us we either had to wash it off our face or go home,” student Morrigan White said.
“To me, it’s Southern pride; it’s our heritage,” student Jagger Starnes told reporters. “None of us are racist; none of us are doing it for hate. It’s Southern pride, and we’re not going to take it off for anyone. It’s our flag. It’s Arkansas. This is the South.”
The school’s Principal Dr. Jay Dostal said the students were asked to remove the racist paraphernalia or be sent home. One student racked up an out-of-school suspension, KARK reported.
“I told him I wasn’t going to take it off, so then, I went to the office. We had a discussion, and the head principal ended up calling me racist,” Starnes said.
The district’s dress code policy reportedly states any attire that “disrupts the educational process or otherwise interferes with the rights or opportunities of others to learn or teach” is prohibited.
According to reports, the defiant students are prepared to continue wearing the Confederate clothing.
“They’re both going to keep wearing their jackets, and if I have makeup, I’m going to put #HistoryNotHate on both my hands, I’ll still keep putting the flag on my face,” White told reporters.
— KARK 4 News (@KARK4News) January 23, 2019
“We’re not trying to trample on their First Amendment rights,” Dostal told KARK. “We’re just trying to have a safe and orderly school environment.”