High school students protest Pride flags by flying Confederate flag in cafeteria, because that makes perfect sense

Emma Powys Maurice December 17, 2019
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Students of West Plains High School displaying a Confederate flag (Buzzfeed)

A group of students at a Missouri high school felt the need to retaliate against their classmates’ Pride flags by displaying a huge Confederate flag in the cafeteria.

LGBT+ teens at West Plains High School handed out rainbow flags among themselves to simply show people “that they’re not alone.”

This apparently provoked the ire of a handful of male students, who sparked a school-wide debate by displaying a Confederate flag in the lunchroom in response.

“To us it was just like retaliation to people who were holding their own [Pride] flags,” Taylor, 15, told Buzzfeed News. “The worst part is that others were backing them up.”

School administrators soon intervened and took the flag away, but social media posts seen by Buzzfeed began circulating, revealing a strong anti-gay commentary from certain students.

“If they can fly their queer flags, others can fly their rebel flags,” one wrote. “Butt hurt?”

Another reads: “Yo if you gay bi or whatever [the f*ck] it is [get the f*ck out of] my snap, it Southern flags down here take it how you want, you wanna do [something about] it pull up but that’s how it is, America got no room for that LGBT bullsh*t ain’t how God intended it to be.”

A social media post seen by Buzzfeed

The debate spread beyond the school, with adults in the community wading in to argue whether or not schools should be allowed to “preach homosexuality”.

The two students who distributed the Pride flags say they have been receiving hateful online comments after local news outlets reported on the controversy.

School officials said they are investigating the incident but did not take disciplinary actions against any students as they had chosen to deal with it as a “learning experience.”

“Our hope is to teach our students to respect each other and to respect different viewpoints on a variety of societal issues,” the school said in a statement.

“Since that occurrence, rumours have sprung up from the most part from people who were not affiliated with the school district, but we want our community to know what the true facts are and set aside any rumours that are being heard.”

Luke Boyer, the assistant superintendent of the school district, added that the school recognises students’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.

“But when it became a point of disruption, we had to eliminate the disruption and we simply asked students to put the banners away,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the banner consists of.”

Related topics: confederate flag, Missouri, pride flag, student protest

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