The Confederate flag was once part of the tradition at Hays High School in Buda, Texas. That tradition will be no more after the Hays School District voted to ban the Civil War imagery from school property in a 5-2 vote on Monday.
The vote to ban the Confederate flag (it was actually a vote to “prohibit the display of writings or images that are discriminatory, harassing or threatening,” which includes the flag, according to the Austin American-Statesman), has caused controversy among Hays High School students and their parents. Some say the flag is offensive while others argue it is a symbol of Southern pride.
“Can I not be proud of my Southern heritage?” parent Cyndie Holmes told the board, noting her great-great-great-grandfather was a captain in the Civil War, according to the paper. Holmes’ son had a Confederate sticker on his truck and the incident led him to be pulled from class.
Up until 2000, the Confederate flag flew at football games at Hays, whose athletic teams are known as the Rebels.
Monday’s vote expanded the ban from football games to include the prohibition of Civil War imagery on school district property at events sponsored by the district, according to the American-Statesman.
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The vote was cast eight months after two Hays High students allegedly wrote racial slurs and urinated on the door of a black teacher’s classroom in May, the Associated Press reported.
The Hays school board voted in October to keep “Dixie,” the Confederate anthem, as the school’s fight song, according to the AP.
Meredith Keller, a Hays school board trustee, was one of the members who cast a vote in favor of the Confederate flag ban. Keller particularly mentioned the offensiveness of a student wearing the flag on their clothing.
“I think that we’re in the business of educating children, and if a student has trouble taking her math test because another child is wearing the Confederate flag, well, we can’t support that,” Keller said, according to the American-Statesman. “If a teacher feels undermined because students are wearing the Confederate flag, I don’t think we can support that.”
Despite October’s vote to keep “Dixie” as the school’s fight song, the board may revisit the issue at a later date, board President Willie Tenorio Jr. told the paper.
“The song is more subject to debate,” he said, noting that “Dixie” has more support in favor of it then the Confederate flag. “At least in the minds of a lot of people.”