The Confederate Flag is once again at the center of a controversy.
A high school principal in Bloomington, Indiana, banned the Confederate flag in all its forms after students wore it draped around their shoulders in school on Wednesday, CBS4Indy, reported.
Principal Jeffry M. Henderson of Bloomington North High School wrote in an email to parents that while he respected the students’ right to express their First Amendment rights the “issue has evolved into one that has created a substantial disruption to the educational environment.”
The reason behind the students wearing the flag may have been as a response to an event supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community at the school last week, in which the rainbow flag signifying gay pride was flown in class.
A student, speaking to CBS4indy said that the LGTBQ event might have raised some tensions in the school.
"I want to either have both flags banned or both flags brought back, so it's equality," said Destiny Sherfield. "I just want equality for everyone and just be able to express ourselves the way we would like to express [ourselves]."
Henderson stated that First Amendment issues can be tricky to deal with when there are students with diverse opinions and views.
"Balancing the first amendment rights of all individuals in a democracy can be a challenging task. Doing that with teenagers can prove to be even more challenging," he wrote.
The Confederate Flag’s presence in society today has stirred controversy in recent years. It came under further scrutiny back in 2015, when a 22-year-old white man, Dylann Roof, gunned down nine people, during a prayer service at a Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The flag, which had flown over the Capitol dome in Columbia, SC, since 1961 when it was raised to honor the 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, was taken down following the mass shooting.
In recent years, the Confederate flag has become a bone of contention in many parts of the country. Some people argue that it is a symbol of slavery and oppression, while others say it’s a mark of Southern heritage and pride.
By the same token, people of faith could argue that the rainbow flag offends their religious sensibilities, while on the other hand others could say is represents their fight for their right to love whom they like and be treated equally.
The Confederate flag, however, is a vestige of a bygone era in which one segment of the population fought to keep using other humans as chattel in a disgusting practice.
A flag is just a piece of cloth, but what it symbolizes is important. The debate is likely to rage on and principals in schools across the country will have to walk a fine line in addressing incidents like these.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @philusb