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 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!”

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