Hastings students asked to take down their Confederate flags

Posted at 4:13 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 21:00:28-04

HASTINGS, Mich. - Some students at Hastings High School are upset after school officials requested they remove all Confederate flags from school property.

Officials say the request comes from concerned community members, but students say their rights are being restricted.

Dr. Carrie Duits, Superintendent of Hastings schools tells us that students do have rights of expression, but material cannot be displayed if it intends to be insulting or harassing.  That is one reason the school district is asking student to remove the flags.

"Some students sharing that the flag represents intimidation, so we're just trying to make sure our school environment isn't disrupted by the confederate flag," Duits said.

Thursday afternoon, school officials asked students displaying the Confederate flag to put them away during school hours and at school events.

"All they asked was that people during school hours and basically on school property have your flags down off your vehicle and that's mainly all it was," said Shannon Mead, a high school senior.

Officials say that several parents and students have voiced concerns about others flying the flag.  We are told that the principal sat down with students who had the flag flying and respectfully asked that they be removed.

A student FOX 17 talked to Friday said he and about 15 others took their flags down, but only until the school bell rang.

Superintendent Duits says that she hopes the request prevents disruptions and this helps students understand what the flag represents to others and how it is perceived by others.  She also found this to be a teachable moment.

"We're hoping our students will understand how this flag represents different things to different people," Duits said.

The school board does meets next Monday night at 7 p.m. if you want to voice your opinion in the matter.