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Plum students & the Confederate flag |

Plum students & the Confederate flag

Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Buses line up for dismissal at Plum Senior High School in August 2016.
Kelsey Evans (left) and Dakota Diliscia outside Plum High School on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. The 14-year-old freshmen said they were skipping class to protest enforcement of a school district dress code in which students were sent home for wearing items of clothing displaying Confederate flags.

As someone who spent much of his adult life living in the South, I was dismayed to read your front-page story, “Two Plum students stage pro-Confederate flag protest.” That anyone, especially clueless Yankee school girls, can equate churlish racist behavior with freedom of expression is appalling.

What was described in the article as a “Confederate” flag was actually the battle standard of the army of Northern Virginia commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee. For a century, it signified a legacy of unsurpassed military glory earned during the Civil War.

Then, unfortunately, the battle flag was usurped by white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan to rally often violent opposition to the civil rights movement and integration. The banner was waved in defiance of federal law, the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the doctrine of “separate but equal” was nothing but a bigoted sham.

Does anyone even teach history at Plum? Do the students even pay attention?

There are a host of legitimate reasons why the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina State House grounds in Charleston, the “cradle of secession.” It was because a standard that had once been “stained with the blood of heroes” had been degraded to represent racial division and hate.

What pranks will these patriotic students pull next? Will they hang a noose from a black student’s locker? Will they wear Nazi armbands on a field trip to a synagogue? Maybe they’ll just plant a pig’s head in front of a local mosque.

See how far that gets them. Freedom of speech, my eye.

Jim Harger

New Kensington

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