East Tenn. high school students wear Confederate flags to school

(Courtesy: WATE)

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Students apparently wearing the Confederate flag to class and in the hallways at a Hawkins County school have raised some parents’ concerns.

A parent sent photos to WATE showing four Cherokee High School students draping themselves in the flags. The parents who sent the photos would not speak with WATE, worried it might have negative consequences for their children.

Another mom who says she supports the heritage of the flag was still surprised to see the photos.

“People ought to think about other people’s feelings and consider their feelings before doing things that they do,” said Crystal Dameron.

Former student Sarah Cope heard about the photos on social media.

“It’s a piece of cloth. Yeah, it is heritage, but there’s a limit between heritage and an education,” Cope said.

The director of schools says the dress code doesn’t specifically mention flags, but they could still be a concern.

“Our dress code doesn’t specifically address flags per se. It does address that any apparel or dress that causes a substantial disruption to the learning environment or educational process is not permitted,” said Director of Schools Steve Starnes. “We addressed it, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act keeps me from discussing specific disciplinary issues about students.”

While some parents say wearing the flags to class was okay, others say it was hurtful.

“There’s a standard about freedom of speech that we have to adhere to and that we try to do that, but we’re also wanting to make sure every student in our school feel safe,” said Starnes.

The school system says flags in general are not allowed to be flown on a student’s car, citing it could be a safety hazard. When asked if changes to the dress code pertaining to flags will be made, Starnes says if it becomes an issue, they will address it.