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article imageStudents Banned From Commencement Ceremony For Flying Confederate Flag

By Susan Duclos     Jun 5, 2008 in World
Three students have been banned from their commencement ceremony because they flew a Confederate flag in a public high school parking lot.
The confederate flag has been a controversial symbol to many. Some believe it represents racism and others believe it is a symbol that represents a time of rebellion against the government and the soldiers that fought for that cause.
The students names are Dan Fredlin, Justin Thompson and Joey Snyder and they were suspended from their last day of school and banned from their diploma ceremony at the John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota after arriving to their last day of school with the Confederate flags attached to their cars. One of the teens had the flag attached to a 20-foot flagpole on his truck.
According to Rick Kaufman who is a spokesman for the Bloomington Public School district, "We believe flying the Confederate flag on campus may violate district rules against discrimination. We believe — and have communicated with students — that the Confederate flag represents hatred, bigotry, intolerance, slavery, civil rights issues and discrimination."
Kaufman also stated, "At one time, the Confederate flag was seen as a symbol of pride. But it's been sullied by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups, much like the Nazi symbol was exploited by the S.S. That used to by a Hindu symbol of peace and love."
In an interview with ABC News, Thompson, was also reprimanded last year for brandishing a flag on his truck at Kennedy, said racism had nothing to do with the decision to fly the flag again on the last day of high school. To them, he said, it was more of an anti-authoritarian taunt.
"We look at it as kind of like a rebel thing," he said. "Anyone who knows us knows we're the farthest thing from racists."
The schools decision was protested by about 100 student, some of which were black, who all gathered and chanted, "Let them walk!", wearing T-shirts that said the same.
Justin Thompson criticized the school's decision, saying the principal was uneducated on the flag's history and biased by the hate it has come to represent for some.
Thompson reports to Army infantry training at Fort Benning in Georgia in July and will most likely being heading to Iraq.
One female friend of the three suspended and banned students, Kellie Rezac, not only helped orchestrate the protest but also claims that their was a double standard at play because she says "I 've had two Rebel flags on my truck for five months, and no one's ever said anything to me."
Should the school have gone to that extreme about an incident that many believe was simply a little rebellious behavior and was there a double standard in letting Rezac have two Confederate flags attached to her car for five months and not doing or saying anything, yet keeping these three teenage boys from attending their own commencement ceremony?
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