School rejects rebel flag decoration on grad caps
By Jim Warren
Fri, Jun. 06, 2008
Two girls graduating from Wolfe County Middle School on Thursday night were not allowed to wear caps they had decorated with images of the Confederate battle flag.
Wolfe County Schools spokesman Robert Scott Creech said the girls were told Thursday afternoon that they could not wear the caps to graduation because the middle school principal found the flag images to be “offensive.” Both ultimately participated in the ceremony, he said.
Dosha Adkins said Friday that her daughter, Desarae, 14, was “heartbroken” that she couldn’t wear her cap, adding that three middle school teachers who saw pictures of the cap earlier had expressed no problems with it. Students were told that they could decorate their own graduation caps, she said.
Adkins also said her daughter wore items of clothing with the Confederate flag image several times during the school year, and that she drew a rebel flag poster for a class project. The poster was displayed at the school, and no school official ever objected to it, she said. In addition, Adkins said that a photograph of her daughter wearing a shirt with a rebel flag decoration was part of a slide show at Thursday night’s graduation.
“So, she could wear it all year long, and they could show that picture at the graduation, but they refused to let her wear her cap,” Adkins said. “They said that if she wore it, she would be asked to leave and then escorted out.”
Creech said he was unfamiliar with the earlier displays of the flag that Adkins described.
But he said the school system’s student code — which parents and students are required to sign — bans racially offensive clothing.
Adkins said her daughter ultimately chose not to wear a cap. She said the other girl, whom she identified as Tasha Johnson, wore a cap with no flag image.
Adkins said her daughter is a good student who “just likes” the Confederate flag image and doesn’t want to offend anyone. “For her it doesn’t stand for anything,” she said.
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