Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » A CLOSE CALL

    Filed at 7:37 am under by dcobranchi

    Yes, even racist (symbolic) speech should be allowed in the g-schools. I think I’m with the parents on this one.

    The parents of two 13-year-old boys say they will home-school them after the boys were not allowed to display Confederate flag symbols in school.

    Administrators at Harby Junior High in Alvin, southeast of Houston, ordered one boy to remove a Confederate flag from his loose-leaf binder and another to stop wearing a belt buckle that displayed crossed U.S. and Confederate flags.

    The boys and their parents filed complaints with school administrators.

    In a written answer to the parents’ complaints, Tim Turner, director of administrative services, said, “The display of the confederate flag by students has become culturally divisive and will not be permitted on campus.”

    The boys’ parents said they decided to home-school their children after other students threatened them.

    Is it protected speech? Then the schools have to protect the kids’ rights. And they (and the parents) have the right to be racist morons.

    6 Responses to “A CLOSE CALL”

    Comment by
    November 12th, 2006
    at 10:29 am

    I think it’s a law that all reason and logic must be suspended when discussing the Confederacy.

    Comment by
    damaged justice
    November 12th, 2006
    at 10:45 am

    Not that I have anything against the Confederate flag, or any “symbol” that isn’t a human being who is morally responsible for their actions. But why the heck more people aren’t using the Gadsden flag is beyond me.

    Comment by
    November 12th, 2006
    at 1:11 pm

    First off, these school administrators are ridiculous. Second, not every person who has, displays, or likes the confederate battle flag does so for racist reasons. Some may, but not all do. For some, it truly is a fact of history, genealogy, and honoring ancestors. Third, if the kids were smart (or snarky) enough, they’d just get the original flag of the confederacy (not the more recognizable and divisive battle flag) and the stupid school people probably wouldn’t know the difference anyway.

    Comment by
    November 12th, 2006
    at 2:34 pm

    And what about Ludacris? Would this outfit get him kicked out for school for being racist?

    Comment by
    November 13th, 2006
    at 12:28 am

    Speech is protected until it becomes a threat. The article didn’t go into much detail as to why the administrators decided to ban the Confederate flag, except to say that “The display of the confederate flag by students has become culturally divisive and will not be permitted on campus.” Before passing judgement on the administrators, I’d like to hear more about the situation.

    Since students were apparantly threatening the boys wearing the flag, it was clearly causing an escalating ruckus of some sort. Did some of the students feel physically threatened (not just offended) by kids wearing the symbol? Were the kids really just expressing their southern heritage, or were they, with full knowledge of what they were doing, expressing the racism that still exists in parts of the south? Did they fully understand how the symbol can be perceived by others? If so, why persist in wearing it, knowing that it would upset their classmates? Clearly they didnt’ do a good job at communicating that they *weren’t* expressing racism. I think there is a difference between speech that is about a *policy* (e.g. anti-Vietnam/Iraq war, pro-marijuana-legalization, etc.), and negative speech that is about a *person* (or group of people) (e.g. anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, etc.). Whether they intended it or not, their speech was perceived as negative and as being directed towards specific kids in the school.

    Let’s look at another example. If there were a few Jewish kids in a school and some of their schoolmates decided to wear Nazi insignia and exercise free speech on the topic, at some point that would be creating an environment that would, at minimum, make it hard for the Jewish kids to concentrate on school, especially if they felt there was an actual threat to their safety involved (which can be hard to pin down or prove, even if it is clear to both parties that it is there).

    Most of us wouldn’t stand for that kind of thing in a homeschool co-op. The kids who were making others in the group feel unsafe would be promptly told to shape up or ship out. Same in a private school.

    I know it’s a hard line to draw, but let’s not slam the administrators without understanding the full story. I could see situations where I’d go one way, and situations where I’d go the other. Do not underestimate the racism still present in America, and do not casually blow off the concerns of those who have to deal with it personally.

    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    November 13th, 2006
    at 9:36 am

    1) I’m interested in what these boys and other students actually learn from all this. That homeschooling is the last refuge of misfits, wackos and social pariahs?

    2) It’s an argument for why we all ought to care about public education, for why families like us can opt out but mustn’t be shut out of school policy decisions and civic representation.

    3) Shades of my own Southern childhood and it wasn’t the flag then either — it’s “form over substance” of engineered diversity.

    4) Can there really be “free” speech in any such controlled, compulsory place?

    5) All of the above.