North bans Confederate flag after protest

Layla Moore

Bloomington High School North Principal Jeff Henderson banned the Confederate flag at school following a protest at the central administration building on Miller Drive Oct. 26. Some North students and parents protested in response to multiple students wearing the flag as a cape that day during school.

Students from North, South and the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, as well as a few faculty members and parents attended the event. Many people spoke about what the display of the flag means to them, and why it should be banned from the school. MCCSC Superintendent Judy DeMuth and Director of Business Operations Tim Thrasher sat at the front of the full room and listened to how the flag has affected learning and the safety of North students.

Arthur Hertz, a student from the Academy, said the problem was larger than the flag and how it represents inequality and hate. He also noted that the school system was inconsistent because “they allow the Confederate flag but they don’t allow L.J. to wear a headband,” referring to South junior L.J. Gaye, who was asked to remove a headband that he said was a cultural garment. Though recently, Gaye and South Principal Mark Fletcher came to an agreement that Gaye could wear the headband.

Gaye said he recognized that it is not going to be easy to show people why the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate. “Kids act racist because of their upbringing and education. Getting expelled won’t change that,” Gaye said.

Greg Chaffin, a guidance counselor at North, attended the protest and said few faculty members attended because they were afraid of losing their jobs.

According to Henderson, the controversy with the Confederate flag being displayed at North was harming the learning environment. Teachers and students did not feel comfortable, he said. DeMuth acknowledged the students for their efforts to remove the symbol from their school. Once the ban was announced, students all over the room began to cry.