DOLORES – Nearly 50 parents, students and community members packed the Dolores School Board of Education meeting room this week to express their dissatisfaction with a variety of things, including the recent ban of the Confederate flag.
“Banning things sends the wrong message to our children,” said Bill Nelligan. “I think this is a poor decision: If you don’t like something, ban it. Tolerance is a two-way street.”
The Confederate flag was banned at the Dolores schools last week, after an incident that school officials called a hate crime, during which a student allegedly placed a hateful display in a teacher’s classroom.
After the incident, a school-wide memo was emailed, calling for the ban of displaying the “Confederate flag and any other symbols that represent and promote hate crimes.”
Many parents felt the decision to ban the flag outright was rash.
“Our Constitution guarantees our right to freedom of expression,” Nelligan said. “I don’t have to agree with you, but you have the right to say it.”
Nelligan felt that parents should have been consulted before such a decision was made.
“I feel my parental rights were usurped with this policy,” Nelligan said.
Angie Sawyer felt that the decision of the administration to ban the flag made the students that like the flag appear to be racist.
“My kid is a great kid. He is a good student, and he is in trouble every day for wearing the rebel flag,” she said.
Brenda Hindmarsh said she feels the ban unfairly targeted her son, who painted a Confederate flag on his tailgate.
“My son has been implicated in this incident,” Hindmarsh said. “He grew up watching ‘Dukes of Hazzard.’ This is not right. That is a good boy back there.
“If you simply wear a flag or fly a flag, it does not make you racist,” she said.
Hindmarsh said a teacher told her son he was racist for having the flag on his tailgate and the words “Nobama” on the side of his truck.
“I don’t think he is a racist,” said Josh Munson, government teacher. “I just explained to him that putting those two things together may give you a reputation you don’t deserve.”