An LU student’s take on how the JF administration should have protected and prepared students more for controversy.
Jefferson Forest High School experienced some press after students and faculty had posted pictures of students waving Confederate flags on Feb. 4.
According to wsls.com, on the fourth, the kids could dress up in fancy or Southern attire and sport Southern/Confederate pride. This event was called “Country vs Country Club Day”.
One would think that the administration would prepare for such problematic statements of pride like the Confederate flag, and one would especially think that the administration wouldn’t post pictures and support the waving of Confederate flags. But apparently, they did not think that any problems could possibly surface after posting pictures of teenagers holding Confederate flags at a public high school.
After the incident, many parents and members of the community contacted the school in hopes of understanding why an administration would not only allow this type of behavior but also promote it.
There are many problems that arise when situations like this happen, and it is hard to pass judgment on a community that I am not part of. However, the administration must be held accountable for promoting a culture that can cause many students to feel uncomfortable.
Students in a public school should have their freedom of expression, after all, schooling is compulsory in America (with some exceptions). But most students are not yet adults, without all of the natural rights granted to adults. So there should be some sort of insurance to ensure that students do not feel too uncomfortable to learn.
As for administration, it is extremely unacceptable for government employees to promote one group over another. The school should not have posted pictures including the rebel battle flags. And frankly a day like “Country vs Country Club Day” seems like a day that could teach kids to focus on the differences certain groups have with each other instead of the similarities.
The administration should seriously re-examine the way that they promote discourse and inclusiveness among their students because having essentially what is a “rich vs poor” day certainly plants seeds of tribalism and divisiveness as opposed to inclusion.
Many would claim that the rebel flag is used to represent pride in one’s heritage as opposed to supporting racism. There is nothing wrong with fondly looking back on some parts of southern heritage or supporting secession for the right reasons. But history does, in fact, make it clear that a huge part of southern heritage was slavery and that the main reason for secession was slavery, as stated in most of the state’s articles of secession. So the heritage that is directly linked to the rebel flag is nothing to be proud of.
I will lastly look at this from a Christian perspective. If someone is a Christian, they are most likely to believe all humans are made equal and in God’s image. They will also likely believe one of the most important things for a Christian to express is love. If a Christian is waving a flag that was and is occasionally used by groups that advocated for some races of humans to be treated as lesser beings, then that Christian is ignoring the fact that all humans are created equal. And it is very hard to express love when it appears to others that one is expressing hate.
Even if a Christian’s motives are pure when waving the Confederate flag, they should be considerate of the people around them and remember that they are called to be an example of Christ to non-believers.
Sobczak is an Opinion Writer.