A Virginia school board refuses to let go of the past.
According to TODAY, the Franklin County School Board in Rocky Mount, Virginia voted 7 to 1 against a ban on clothing showing the Confederate flag. The only vote for the ban came from the board's sole Black member, Penny Blue.
Blue made the proposal to update the dress code policy to ban the flag last fall, according to ABC 13 News. She said that the confederate flag is a symbol of white supremacy, but got pushback from others who say the ban violates students' right to free speech.
The debate surrounding the flag took place for months prior to the vote. "In Franklin County, we do not have any documented cases of a substantial disruption caused by the Confederate flag; therefore it would not be appropriate to ban the Confederate flag and violate a student's First Amendment rights. Should it become a problem in the future, we would consider a ban," Julie Nix, chair of the Franklin County School Board, told TODAY.
Some residents of Franklin County, which is about 8 percent African-American, are upset with the vote. "I guess I’m unhappy with the decision," Larry Darnell Moore II, a Franklin County teacher, told WSLS 10 News. "I think we’ve used kind of the heritage part of the Confederate flag to hide a lot of history and misteach history and I think because of that it’s really time to step forward and kind of be decisive about how we’re going to view things as Americans."
"The flag serves as a potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy," Dr. Gloria Freeman-Martin, a Franklin County resident, added.