Durham Public Schools Ban Confederate Flags, Other Divisive Symbols | News

Durham Public Schools Ban Confederate Flags, Other Divisive Symbols


The Durham Public Schools' Board of Education voted unanimously tonight to revise the school system's dress code to prohibit symbols that may "intimidate other students on the basis of race."

The board also voted tonight to remove the name of Julian Carr from the middle school building at Durham School of the Arts because of "his beliefs in racial superiority."

In a Facebook post, the school system says this may include the Confederate flag, swastikas and symbols associated with the Ku Klux Klan. The vote comes amid a national and local debate over Confederate monuments. Orange County schools made a similar change to its dress code earlier this month.

"First amendment considerations are very important, but principals have authority to keep the school environment safe and inclusive and welcoming," DPS spokesperson Chip Sudderth told WRAL. "They have the authority to deal with student expression that has a reasonable chance of causing disruptions or intimation in the classroom"

Carr, an industrialist for whom Carrboro is named, spoke at the 1913 dedication of Silent Sam, a Confederate monument on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill. In the speech, he lauds Confederate soldiers for saving "the very life of the Anglo Saxon race" and describes beating a black woman on Franklin Street.

Dress code already prohibits students from wearing items that depict profanity or violence, promote drug use, threaten the "health or safety" of others, are gang-related, or are "reasonably likely to create a substantial and material disruption to the educational process or to the operation of the school."

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