Public schools in Charleston will no longer allow students to wear Confederate flag-themed clothing or other apparel.
The announcement from the Charleston County School District came as students are set to return to school for the first time since nine people were killed at a Charleston AME church this summer in an attack that was deemed by investigators as racially-motivated. Since that shooting, state governments, schools, businesses, and other entities have been trying to clamp down on the use of a flag that many deem racially offensive, but others defend as misunderstood.
The Charleston Post & Courier first reported that the school district had notified students and parents of the new guidelines through a separate page included in the 2015-16 school year’s code of conduct. “In light of a year marred with racially divisive and tragic events, the Charleston County School District has decided to prohibit students from wearing on campus clothing, jewelry or other apparel bearing the image of the Confederate flag,” the notice stated.
Students also will not be allowed to fly Confederate flags from their vehicles and any student whose vehicle prominently features the flag’s image will be asked to remove the image. The district said each violation will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but that students could face “disciplinary action” for continuing to use flag-themed images.
District spokesman Daniel Head said it was a staff decision to add the section to the code of conduct, not a vote from the district’s board of trustees.
More than 48,000 students attend 84 schools and specialized programs in the district.