PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) — A controversial symbol was put on display by students in the parking lot of one high school and it has other students and parents angry and concerned about the intentions behind it.
For the past few school days several students at Paxton Buckley Loda High School have been flying the Confederate flag on their cars and putting it on their windshields in the parking lot.
The school has asked them to take the flags down, but they got pushback from students and parents on both sides of this. The students who did it say it’s the end of the school year and they wanted to do something fun. They do have the right to display those flags. But the superintendent says this caused a disruption within the school so that’s why they asked them to take the flags down.
Sindra Gerdes says, “I feel like it’s a slap in the face.”
When Gerdes drove to school on Friday, she noticed something flying in the parking lot and told her mom right away.
Angela Bigham says, “The confederate flags are being brought to school and displayed on the trucks in the front row of the high school parking lot.”
The administration at PBL High School asked the group of students doing this to take them down, so they did. Fast forward to Monday, those flags are back up in the same students’ cars but this time pinned up in the windshields.
Garrett Jean says, “It was just for fun, we never meant to rub anyone the wrong way. People fought for that flag, American people. Some people see it as racist but personally I don’t see it as that.”
But others like Gerdes and her mom, do.
Gerdes says, “The confederate flag stands for slavery and the south. The south wanted slavery.”
Some say this has gone on long enough and needs to stop.
Bigham says, “With my daughter being biracial, it a very uncomfortable for her.”
Superintendent Cliff McClure says in a statement, “In no way does the pbl school district tolerate or condone racially insensitive symbols.”
But the students who are flying the confederate flags say this is part of their right to freedom of expression.
Jean says, “I don’t think it was right for them to tell us to take it down. It’s our first amendment right to fly these flags. It’s still a part of American history and we should respect that.”
Gerdes and her mother say there’s nothing respectable about what they view the confederate flag represents.
“It means oppression and I don’t think it’s right for students to let student even have it in their windshield when at school you’re suppose to feel safe and not feel threatened at all.”
Gean says two of his friends got lunch detention for displaying the flag on Friday but didn’t know of any other consequences. When asked, the superintendent wouldn’t comment on student discipline in this situation.