Confederate flag displayed at Missouri high school

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Several students reportedly circled a high school parking lot in cars while displaying a Confederate flag as their classmates prepared to honor the Day of Silence — a national event to raise awareness about bullying LGBTQ students face.

Stephen Hall, chief communications officer for Springfield Public Schools in Missouri, confirmed the incident involving a handful of students at Kickapoo High School on Friday to the Springfield News-Leader.

The parking lot where the students were displaying American flags and at least one Confederate flag was packed before classes began, Hall said.

“They continued to drive through and because it was considered potentially dangerous, the administrators directly went to handle it,” Hall said.{mosads}

The students voluntarily removed the flags, parked their cars and were on time to class, Hall said. None of them were disciplined.

The incident, which may have been a form of counterprotest, the paper noted, comes after several days of reported anti-LGBTQ bullying at the school targeting the Gay Straight Trans Alliance (GSTA).

The group was hanging up posters and raising awareness for the Day of Silence, a student-led national event where people take a vow of silence for the day to highlight the silencing of LGBTQ people at school.

Several posters were ripped down in front of nearly 600 students during an incident caught on camera, the newspaper reported. More posters were torn down later that week.

The video was posted on an Instagram account created by an unknown person called “KHS Straight Pride.”

The account declared, “We don’t support LGBT ideology being pushed on students. Not affiliated with KHS faculty or staff. Facts don’t care about your feelings.” 

“My students were very upset. … In that moment, they didn’t feel safe at school. They felt like they didn’t have a place here,” art teacher and GSTA sponsor Jess Loudis told the paper.

Dozens of students on the video laughed or clapped, according to the newspaper.

“The cheering that happened is what really bothered them,” Loudis said. “They said it would be one thing if somebody was just ignorant and tore down their poster, but it was such a public display and the person put on such a show, to much cheering, and that was really heartbreaking to them.”

Kickapoo Principal Bill Powers reportedly condemned the acts to the entire school over the intercom shortly after the first poster was ripped down. 

“Disrespect of any student in our school will not be tolerated. Here at Kickapoo and across SPS, we are committed to a learning environment that makes all of our students feel safe, secure and respected for who they are,” Powers said, the Springfield News-Leader reported. 

The district confirmed to the newspaper that the students who were caught ripping down the posters were disciplined for bullying.

First-time bullying offenses range from a conference with the student and their parents up to an out-of-school suspension.

Tags anti-LGBT bullying Confederate flag Gay Straight Trans Alliance High school LGBTQ youth Missouri Springfield
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