Things That Matter

The Difference Between The Confederate And Pride Flag? One Represents Hate The Other Represents Love And Inclusion

Some kids do the darnedest things. Others… commit acts that are just plain stupid. 

In a recent story, high school students from a town in Missouri acted against several displays of the Pride flag at their school by displaying a Confederate flag in their cafeteria. 

Yawn.

After a group of students at West Plains High School in Missouri passed out pride flags to show solidarity with LGBTQ students, some conservative students apparently took issue.

In response to the flags, several students hung up a Confederate flag in their school cafeteria area. The display ultimately sparked a heavy debate on social media and amongst the people of West Plains. According to a report by Buzzfeed students had posted the Confederate flag incident to Snapchat accounts. One post had captioned the images of the flag with the words “If they can fly their queer flags, others can fly their rebel flags. Butt hurt?”

The incident which occurred on December 9th is reportedly under investigation by the West Plains School District. As of Monday, the school has yet to take disciplinary actions against any of the students involved according to a district spokesperson who spoke to BuzzFeed News. 

In a statement issued by the West Plains School District the school views the incident as unacceptable. 

“Last week groups of high school students chose to bring banners to school, and while we respect student’s first amendment rights, however, we became aware the banners were used by some members of the groups to taunt other students, and that is not acceptable,” the statement read. “Rather than deal with this a disciplinary matter, we chose to deal with it as a learning experience. No disciplinary actions were taken. Our hope is to teach our students to respect each other and to respect different viewpoints on a variety of societal issues. Since that occurrence, rumors 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 rumors that are being heard.”

According to Buzfeed, the “banners” that were referred to in the statement are actually addressing both the Confederate and Pride flags. (Insert world’s most massive eye roll.)

In an interview with BuzzFeed New, two students who had taken part in passing out the Pride flags have said they are currently experieing hateful comments online. 

“A lot of students don’t have parents who support them,”  Marianne, a 15-year-old sophomore from the school where the incident took place told BuzzFeed. The sophomore took part in passing out Pride flags to students at the school before the Confederate flags were strung up. “We were just trying to show that we’re proud of who we are.”

According to students who interviewed with Buzzfeed, 60 Pride flags had been bought and passed around to other students. Distribution of the flags had been done without Mal intent and many students stuck their flags out of their backpacks or carried them by hand around the school’s campus. Students had said that they wanted to share the flags to show LGBTQ+ students at their high school that they were never alone. 

According to the students who had talked to Buzzfeed, it wasn’t until their lunch period that they had noticed two or three male students string up a Confederate flag in the seniors café.

“To us it was just like retaliation to people who were holding their own [pride] flags,” Taylor, another 15-year-old who spoke to Buzzfeed said. “The worst part is that others were backing them up.”

Some students claimed that anti-gay slurs were used against students who had passed out the flags while they were in the cafeteria. The incident piqued when kids ran from the cafeteria upset and phoned their parents so that they would be picked up.

Eventually school administrators took down the flag away.

While a superintendent for the Missouri school district said that the school recognizes students’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression, they had to ask students to put the banners away when it became a disruption.

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

The images of the incident have circulated online, often with comments that are homophobic and against the LGBTQ+ community.

Students involved in the incident have argued on Snapchat that they were expressing their equal right to practice freedom of speech. Still, their true intentions were clue. As one FB user who had read the commentary wrote in response, “One is for love and acceptance and the other represents hatred! Sorry, schools should not allow that!”

St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

Things That Matter

St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

Michael B. Thomas / Getty

In another display of a peaceful protests, activists returned the site of a St. Louis mansion owned by the white couple who drew out their guns during a calm demonstration last month. On Friday, chanting protesters returned to the home of Patricia and Mark McClosky, stopping just outside of their gate to protest for nearly 15 minutes.

During the peaceful protest over a dozen men in plain clothes walked the area inside of the gate.

According to Time Magazine, “One protester briefly straddled an iron gate as if he was going to jump over, but did not. No one threw anything and no one behind the gates showed aggression. One man on the McCloskeys’ balcony clapped along with the chanting protesters.” The crowd of protesters included a racially diverse crowd carrying signs calling to “Defund the Police” and underlining that “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Chants included calls like “when Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” and “this is what democracy looks like.”

According to reports, it is unknown if the McCloskeys were home. Soon after, the protestors left and marched to Interstate 64. Police had closed off the roads to traffic in both directions to allow protestors to march onto the highway. There the protestors sat on the highway for several minutes to honor the life of George Floyd who died on May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee to his neck for over eight minutes.

The recent rally was organized by the group Expect Us and is among various demonstrations in St. Louis that have taken place in the weeks since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

The McCloskeys first came to national attention in mid-June after they had been spotted aiming guns at protesters outside their home in St. Louis. Soon after the images of them began circulating Twitter dubbed them “Ken and Karen” and the stars of the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” remake no one asked for. The incident occurred as protesters marched their way towards the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson who declared in a Facebook post that she would not support rising calls to defund the police. She also reportedly shared activists’ full names and addresses while reading off suggestions on how to better spend the city’s funds. After users ridiculed her online, Krewson apologized for her actions saying “Never did I intend to harm anyone or cause distress,” Krewson tweeted. “The update is removed and again, I apologize.”

The Supreme Court Just Decided To Allow Religious Employers To Deny Workers Birth Control

Entertainment

The Supreme Court Just Decided To Allow Religious Employers To Deny Workers Birth Control

Tim Matsui / Getty

In another battle about birth control, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration has the right to allow employers to refuse coverage for workers seeking to obtain birth control through work insurance plans. Giving employers with religious or moral objections a pass, the Supreme Court made the ruling which is deeply concerning considering how much it infringes on women’s rights.

The decision which had a 7:2 vote marks the end of years of lawsuits over the Affordable Care Act’s “birth control mandate.”

Over a decade ago, the Obama administration made employers offer employees birth control coverage. Since the decision, religious liberty proponents and reproductive rights advocates squared off over which employers should be excluded from that requirement. According to Vice, “Over the years, the government has given churches and other houses of worship, as well as some other employers, ways to skirt that requirement.”

In 2017, the Trump administration issued a set of new rules that increased the number of organizations to refuse birth control coverage.

The change in rules gives private employers with sincerely held religious and moral objections to be exempt.

After Pennsylvania and New Jersey pursued lawsuits over the change and won in a lower court, the Trump administration and the Little Sisters of the Poor appealed to the Supreme Court for an overturned ruling. Justice Clarence Thomas ruled that the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury had the right to create such exemptions ruling “The only question we face today is what the plain language of the statute authorizes. And the plain language of the statute clearly allows the Departments to create the preventive care standards as well as the religious and moral exemptions.”

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh agreed with Thomas’ opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sided with the liberals in various recent cases, also ruled in their favor.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor ruled against the measure.

In her dissent, Ginsburg underlined that the government has an estimated number of 70,500 to 126,400 women who could lose their “no-cost contraceptive services” should additional employers be exempt. “This court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer’s insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets,” Ginsburg wrote.

In May, Ginsburg made history when she called into the arguments over the case from the hospital due to the coronavirus pandemic and her recovery from “non-surgical treatment.”

“You are shifting the employer’s religious beliefs — the cost of them — onto the employees,” Ginsburg told then-Solicitor General Noel Francisco. She also added that women who lose birth control coverage will most likely be forced to find coverage through government programs like Medicaid or pay for their health care out of pocket. “The women end up getting nothing.”