Jefferson Forest HS parents share concerns over Confederate flag photo

Picture shows students at the school holding the controversial flag

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – The controversy over a Confederate flag picture at Jefferson Forest High School is not dying down yet.

More than a dozen concerned parents at the school gathered on Sunday afternoon to talk about the picture, which shows students holding two Confederate flags.

 "It's not to say that this flag isn't a symbol of heritage, but that notion of heritage has been eroded by others that have used the flags for other, ulterior means," said Jefferson Forest High School parent Lyman Connor.

The parents claim the picture is a sampling of a troubling atmosphere at Jefferson Forest. They all signed a letter alleging a "hostile and unsafe environment" at the high school, which will be delivered to the Bedford County Public Schools office on Monday.

 "If this impacts one person, it makes an uncomfortable environment," said Connor. "Schools are supposed to be about safe, nurturing, learning environments."

"This is not about the flag," added Bedford NAACP President Robert Carson, who was present at the meeting and will deliver the signed letter to the school district. "It's about the mentality behind it and the things that are being said along with it."

The parents also plan to make public comments during the school board's next meeting Feb. 21, but Carson hopes to facilitate a meeting between parents and administrators before then.

"It's going to take all of us to solve this and to work it out," said Carson. "We can't just leave it up to the administration."

"Let's look at the past and tie all this together," added Connor. "Either we learn from the past or we don't."

In a previous statement to 10 News, the Bedford County School District said no students complained about the Confederate flags and that the flags themselves are not against school code.