A 15-year-old teenager from Visalia, California was asked to leave school grounds for his own safety on Friday after a confrontation with other students.
The student, who has remained unidentified due to his age, wore a hoodie with a Confederate flag design to school last week and upset so many students, he was asked to leave due to safety concerns.
The student’s mother has since removed her son from Redwood High School claiming his life has been threatened. Tthe mother states that a picture of her son in Confederate flag clothing with the hashtag #whitepower has gone viral, causing teens and adults alike to attack her son online. “The only reason the picture exploded was because of the hashtag used,” she said in an interview on Monday. “To me, this is ignorance. These people don’t know my son, he’s not racist.”
The mother went on to say that to her son the Confederate flag represents a time when states’ rights were being debated, and personal freedoms were being challenged.
‘The reason he wore what he wore is that the flag represents more than slavery, it represents a lot of other things. He’s not being racist. Everyone learns history differently.’
After finishing lunch on Friday, three female students stopped the teenager and asked him about his hoodie emblazoned with the Confederate flag. It was then that Redwood High School officials became aware of the situation. An administrator noticed the confrontation and said he would look into it and asked students to return to class. The administrator then brought the situation to the attention of Principal Matt Shin. “In regard to dress code, with 2,300 students, we don’t always catch every kid,” said Shin. “Before lunch, there were no reports to the office of any disruption to others.”
Parents of other Redwood High School students say however that this was not the only clash with the boy that day.
One of the students at Redwood High took a picture of the student and posted it to Snapchat with someone else adding the hashtag “flex #whitepower.” Since then, the picture has been shared on several social media sites including Facebook and has received thousands of views.
On Monday as the post became viral, Redwood High School sent out a statement addressing the incident. The statement was to the students, staff, and parents of those affected.
‘School administration has met with the student and his parent about the incident that took place on Friday and have worked to resolve the incident as well as to ensure that there will be no more similar incidents like it in the future. This entire incident is an educational reminder to all of us how the interpretations of different symbols and expressions can vary from person to person. It’s also a reminder to us that schools should always be a safe and inclusive place for students to learn and interact with one another.’
Featured image via KMPH.