FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A couple of students at Fayetteville High School are facing consequences after wearing Confederate flag attire to school.
Earlier this week, students at Fayetteville High School came to school wearing Confederate flag shirts and had paintings of the flag on their face and hands.
They were asked by the school to change shirts and to remove the paint, but they refused. They were then sent home for the day.
“To us, it’s not hate, everyone is saying it’s hate, it’s our history. We live in a southern state and if we were doing it for hate we wouldn’t be wearing it,” said Jagger Starnes, a ninth-grade student at FHS.
“The Confederate flag is a symbol and it has a long history, 150 years, tied to being the ideas of racism, hatred and bigotry and because of that its not allowed in our school setting,” said Jay Dostal, FHS Principal.
According to the districts rule,
“Attire that disrupts the educational process or otherwise interferes with the rights or opportunities of others to learn or teach is considered improper and unacceptable.”
“I’m just looking at strictly the board policy,” said Dostal. “I shared with the students outside of school if you want to wear that absolutely go ahead.”
The student claims that he was called a racist by the school principal.
“I’m honestly not racist, I have friends that are black, I have friends that are Mexican, you know I’m not racist by any means,” said Jagger.
“I would never call a student a racist. Absolutely not,” said Dostal.
Jagger’s father says he stands by his son’s decision to wear Confederate flags.
“I support him in anyway he’s doing it because that’s what he’s standing up for,” said Keith Starnes, Jagger’s father. “If he was doing it for hate than it would be different but he’s not so yeah I’m going to support my son.”
“In a diverse school setting like we’re in it’s important that we keep all kids safe and let them feel safe and free from the Confederate flag,” said Dostal.
A bronze statue, titled the Confederate SoldieR is viewed in downtown Alexandria, Virginia, on August 14, 2017.
He stands in the middle of the street, his back to the nation’s capital as he gazes southwards towards the bloody battlefields of the Civil War. Erected nearly 130 years ago, the bronze statue of an unarmed Confederate soldier sits at a busy intersection in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington,DC.The Alexandria statue, known as ‘Appomattox,’ is one of hundreds of similar monuments across the American South honoring the Confederate dead.Debate over what to do with these controversial symbols of the Confederacy has been simmering for years and is likely to intensify after boiling over into bloodshed at the weekend.
/ AFP PHOTO / Paul J. Richards / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY CHRIS LEFKOW- ‘Pressure builds to remove Confederate statues following clashes over plans to pull down a monument to rebel commander Robert E. Lee in a Virginia city’ (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Starnes says despite being reprimanded by the school, he will continue to wear the Confederate flag to school no matter the consequences.
Administrators say they will continue sending students home who do not abide by the rules that are in place regarding the dresscode.