Fight over confederate flag brewing in Alvin

By Cynthia Cisneros

(10/02/06 – KTRK/ALVIN, TX) – The confederate flag is at the center of a growing
controversy in Alvin. Two students at Harby Middle School are fighting for their
right to wear the flag. They say it’s about remembering the past and paying tribute
to their school’s namesake. But the district says the students broke the rules.

It’s a belt buckle Marshall Alexander has worn before. He likes to wear it because
his mother gave it to him. He also has another reason.

"It honors my fallen veterans," he said.

"How so?" we asked.

"The Civil War was about having our own country at that time, so we wanted
to honor them because they fought for their rights 1861 through 1865,"
responded Alexander.

Alexander wore the belt buckle the first week of school at Harby. School officials
asked Alexander to remove the buckle. He did.

At the same school, Robert Kaufman found himself in a similar situation when
he displayed a confederate flag sticker on his notebook.

"Do you feel that maybe your right to display it is hurting the feelings
of others?" we asked.

"Well, no, because we haven’t offended anyone," said Kaufman. "If
someone went up to me and said, ‘Hey, you offended me,’ I’d take it out."

Rules are rules, say Alvin school district officials. Teachers have the authority
to determine inappropriate clothing or accessories.

"Any accessory or apparel that promotes racial intolerance or cultural
divisiveness is not allowed," said Shirley Brothers with Alvin ISD.

Alexander’s mother disagrees and has already filed a complaint with the school
district. She and others are now circulating a petition to allow confederate
symbols on campus.

"Our First Amendment right is being infringed upon," she said. "That
belt buckle did not disrupt the class or anything else."
(Copyright © 2006, KTRK-TV)

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