Confederate Battle Flag at School Leads to Lockdown
POLK COUNTY, Ga. - A trio of students has been suspended from school after one of them brought a Confederate battle flag to campus.
Officials said the disruption occurred Wednesday morning at Rockmart High School in Polk County when a 10th grade boy arrived with a Confederate battle flag attached to his backpack.
"He got dropped off out of his truck and came down the sidewalk just like any other student does," said Principal Wesley Cupp.
He said the sophomore, who is white, then walked through the cafeteria before school started onto the courtyard with the Confederate battle flag strapped to his backpack. That's where he was confronted by two African-American students.
"They wanted to confront him about what he had on his back pack. What did they say? Hey man why you doing that," said Cupp.
Principal Cupp also said shoving and exchange of words among the students was minimal because staff broke it up within minutes. He said no weapons were found. But later in the morning, the school was put through a lockdown drill with students kept in class after rumors of other students bringing Confederate battle flags surfaced.
"We just did that as a precautionary situation to help maintain and control what could have been a bad situation," said Cupp.
He said all three students involved were suspended for the disruption which had nothing to do with Freedom of Speech.
"When you become a distraction where students can't learn because of a distraction then that needs to be removed," said Cupp.
A parent of students at the High School was complimentary toward Principal Cupp.
"I think the Principal handled it the right way i don't want to give him no backlash because it'd be different if he said you know just the white kid go home and not the black kid or vice a versa," Said Chris High.
Another Polk County resident thought the students who were offended might have avoided trouble with a different approach.
"If they had a problem with him having the confederate flag on his backpack they should have went to the authorities and talked to the authorities," said Betty Dodd.
Principal Cupp said when the three students involved return to school they will be offered counseling and other services to help ease tensions.