Chaos erupted at the Frankton-Lapel high school in Indiana after dozens of high schoolers came to class wearing Confederate flags, and waving them from their cars. This was the second time, and second day of the student’s pro-flag protest.
The first time this happened, fellow students became terrified and complained to the school administration about the protest. To their credit, the school officials took the initiative to sit and talk to the students in efforts to understand the reason behind the protest. Principal Chad Kemerly recalled how he, “sat down and spoke to each student one-on-one and discussed the situation and what their intentions were.” Kemerly explained that, “They said they were trying to support the Southern heritage of the flag and not people’s opinion of what the flag may stand for.”
The principal emphasized that he was the only one allowed to define what the flag meant, and then went on to argue that the message of the confederate flag was racist. “We talked about the Southern heritage, and that for many people that flag stands for racism. We emphasized they need to know what the message [is] they’re sending.” Unsurprisingly, this state of affairs left everyone – on both sides of the issue – dissatisfied and upset.
However, the very next day, the students decided to continue with their display of Confederate flags and this time things went awfully wrong as chaos erupted on school grounds. Kemerly told the Star that “it caused a disruption. We weren’t able to carry on some classes as usual. There were discussions in the hallways taking place that shouldn’t have been taking place.”
Sophomore Morgan Knepp, a black student at the school used the flag as an excuse to skip classes, claiming that the environment at school made her feel unsafe and like she didn’t belong. Knepp stated in an interview, “We go to school to feel comfortable, to learn, and to feel like it’s a safe place.” She further remarked, “Yes, [the Confederate flag] is a part of history, but there are some parts of history we don’t need to bring back up and repeat.”
The madness that erupted in the hallways of the school caused school officials to fully ban all students from wearing such clothing. “The banning of this symbol isn’t because of the symbol; it’s because of the disruption in school,” Kemerly claimed.
“It could be any symbol or any action for that matter, if it’s something that’s prohibiting the education environment, interfering with the sanctity of the learning environment, we have to do something,” he added.
Jaden Vanalstyne, a junior at the school expressed his content with the school’s decision and stated, “I think it’s kind of gotten out of hand the way it’s at now.” And expressed that, I wish it would’ve never gotten to that and I’m sorry people took it as racism.”