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Student brings half American, half Confederate flag to school on 9/11

Valmeyer, IL (KMOV) — A student at Valmeyer High School brought a flag that’s half the American flag and half the Confederate flag to his school on September 11.

Valmeyer High School Superintendent Eric Frankford told News 4 the student’s action is not something that will go unnoticed.

“This is not something we approve, we condone. We promote,” Frankford said. “It’s something that is not going to be tolerated.”

Frankford said the students were encouraged to wear red, blue and white during a volleyball game on September 11 to honor victims of the attack.

But a student decided to walk into the game with a flag that’s half Confederate and Frankford said: “think it’s an issue for us because any symbol that conveys a message of intolerance cannot be accepted at school.”

A staff member at the game did nothing about the student with the flag, Frankford said.

“The staff member, who was on-duty last night, felt uncomfortable,” Frankford said. “Uncomfortable because of that line of expressions students express and intolerable messages.”

A Valmeyer resident considers the student’s action as freedom of speech but the student should’ve thought about what it will mean to those around him.

“If that’s your opinion, you can have it. We are all entitled to our own opinion,” Collin Ford said. “But, when you do something like that you have to take into account how others will feel about it if you are going into a public place like a school with it.”

The school district sent this statement to News 4:

On September 11, 2019, the Valmeyer School District girls’ volleyball team played a home game. Students and spectators were encouraged to wear red, white and blue to the game in honor and remembrance of the 9/11 victims and families. Unfortunately, one student displayed a red, white and blue flag with a partial Confederate symbol. The District employees at the event did not take action to stop the student from displaying the Confederate flag because they were under the mistaken belief that the student had a First Amendment right of free speech to display the flag.

While courts have acknowledged that displaying the Confederate flag qualifies for First Amendment protection, the courts have held that public schools are allowed to exclude racially hostile or contemptuous displays from protected speech, such as the Confederate flag, because the use of such display/speech could result in conflict or violence on school grounds.

To be clear, the District has taken immediate action to notify all employees and students that the District prohibits any individual from wearing or displaying the Confederate flag, or any racially hostile symbol or display, on school property and at school-related events.

The Board of Education, Administration and employees are committed to continuing to provide all students an educational environment that is free from any form of discrimination. The display of any material, symbol or information that is racially hostile or offensive, including but not limited to the Confederate flag, will not be tolerated or permitted.

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