CHRISTIANSBURG (WSLS 10) - Last week, more than 20 Christiansburg High School students were suspended for wearing clothing with the Confederate Flag on it.
Montgomery County Public Schools said the students came to class wearing the flag, which is a violation of the school's dress code. School spokeswoman Brenda Drake said the students were given the opportunity to comply with the dress code, but refused. So they were given one day of in school suspension (ISS).
Students said they were protesting a new school policy banning vehicles with Confederate flag symbols from the school parking lot. The new parking lot policy, adopted in 2015, is something students must agree to in writing before receiving a parking pass.
Since this incident first began, many groups have weighed in on the Confederate Flag issue at Christiansburg High. The ACLU of Virginia commented, stating schools must balance first amendment rights with a healthy learning environment.
Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans released a statement to the public:
Last week 23 students from a Christiansburg, Virginia, High School were suspended. School administrators from this Southwestern Virginia high school suspended them because they were wearing clothing with Confederate flag symbols. The students only wanted to raise the point that the flag is not racist. One student stated, "It's my heritage. I grew up on it. It has nothing to do with racism."In addition to clothing, the same symbols have been banned from vehicles and elsewhere on school property.These students First-Amendment rights have been infringed upon and the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans condemns the actions of the school. We understand the need for tolerance. However, tolerance is a two-way street. Those that love and honor their Confederate heritage must be allowed to express themselves too. Our Confederate ancestors fought a terrible war that took over 600,000 American lives and the history of that conflict deserves to be properly remembered and honored. And these Christiansburg students should be allowed to honor that history and their forefathers.The Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans stand in support of these students and their desire to be heard.
School spokeswoman Brenda Drake said the flag was banned inside the high school after multiple fights in the early 2000's.