There were 35 responses to this week’s Tele-Talk question: “Did the school respond properly by prohibiting the display of the Confederate flag?” Nineteen people said the school made the right decision; 16 people said the school should not have banned displays of the flag. On Facebook, more than 70 people weighed in on the issue, with 29 people supporting the administration’s decision and 46 people speaking against prohibiting the flag.
Yes, it's a symbol of hate and repression.
Yes, I think the school made the proper decision with the kids on the confederate flag time. I think these kids need a history lesson. I'm surprised they are so ignorant and brazen to be on the front page of the newspaper displaying full ignorance about the facts. I feel very sorry for them and embarrassed for them and their parents. They should be ashamed.
Students at the school have a better understanding of liberty and freedom than the administration does. Shame on them.
Kennett High School definitely did the right thing to prohibit displaying the Confederate flag. From what I have observed over many years, it appears that most of the people who display it have a lot of prejudice, and I just think it was the best thing they could have done, and I hope they continue to stand behind what they have done.
Really? Just a little while ago on the paper you were saying how smart and bright our students were when they said something you agreed with. Now that they said something you don't like they're all children and dumb because they believe something you don't like. As far as your little stupid cartoon. I was just down south last week in Tennessee. I was in Cleveland and Chattanooga and the Confederate flag was flying proudly in many places.
My opinion is: Since when does Mark Hounsell and the school board have the right to circumvent the First Amendment? Just because they are children and they're learning, they should all their rights, and the First Amendment does give them the right to free speech. Also, the teachers and the school board should go back to school and study the facts. The Confederate flag was not just a symbol of slavery. You had hundreds of thousands of white people who are poor, low class farmers and share croppers, who had no investment in slavery whatsoever. Go back and study history and find out that that was their flag for the South. They were southern Americans. It was an American flag.
I absolutely agree that the school board should prohibit the Confederate flag in town and at least educate the school children about that. And there's also somebody in Center Ossipee that has the Confederate flag upon your garage door and I wish they would take it down too.
Yes, the school responded properly by prohibiting the display of the Confederate flag. I am really disappointed in what these young people are doing. Usually protesters are at the forefront of brave, positive change. These kids are acting like ignorant, old, narrow-minded haters.
In regard to the Confederate flag being waved at Kennett High School, I believe the school tried to ignore its existence to the summer, hoping it would go away, didn't want to give the kids extra attention, but these students pressed the issue and it became disruptive. It's also my understanding is that these students may feel bullied, but they have actually verbally, via social media, bullied others. So there's another side to the story that is not making it to the public arena.
My wife was born in the South, in Jacksonville, grew up in Chattanooga and lived in Atlanta, and we fly the Confederate flag at our house when she's here. It is not a symbol of hate — only if you want to be a hate. As a matter of fact, it's really a heritage thing. The battle of Lookout Mountain was fought in her back yard. So, I think the kids have a right to express themselves. I don't disagree that it doesn't have to be on school property, but certainly they can drive the trucks to the parking lot and then lower the flag, and put them back up after they leave. But, to say that this is a symbol of hate is absolutely incorrect — only if you want it to be. It is a heritage kind of thing and the people in the South, quite frankly are very proud of it.
I think Mr. Moylan has done an excellent job at being open, up front and decisive on this issue. I know at least a couple of these students involved. I don't believe they're being racist; they're just being culturally clueless. I hope this provides the impetus to raise our cultural IQ.
Would we allow Muslims to recognize their heritage by flying an ISIS flag? Or those whose ancestors fought in the Indian wars to wear T-shirts that read "The only good Indian is a dead Indian?" How about adorning Oktoberfest, that great celebration of German heritage with Swastikas? Rename our children Jim Crow? Bring back the Inquisition, flogging and debtors prison. Long live the king!
For once in our lives, the school did respond properly by prohibiting the display of those Confederate flags. It's just ridiculous and the teacher and whose name I hope remains anonymous was speaking carefully when she said they were Nazis in training. I agree with her wholeheartedly, and they're nothing but a bunch of little punks. And they ought to go home and get a spanking.
I think the kids should be allowed to show the Confederate flag whenever they want around the school or around Conway. It's just teenagers having fun. Too many right-wing people or academic people are becoming very thin-skinned and people can't do anything any more. This is Andre from Conway.
If you don't like the flag, don't look at it. If they've ban that what's going to be next? So, live and let live. This is Gordon.
The school didn't do the right thing by prohibiting the display of the Confederate flag because if they prohibit the display the Confederate flag, they need to prohibit the display of the rainbow flag, of an American flag, of in Israeli flag, of a Canadian flag, of any flag.
Absolutely not. It's bad enough that they can't wear it on a T-shirt; they should be able to display it on their vehicles. Where are the history teachers? I stand with those kids. This is Pat from Tamworth.
Yes, I think the school responded very appropriately. That flag shouldn't be displayed at school. If you want to fly it, you can fly it at home. This is Bill.
No, I don't think the school responded properly by prohibiting the displaying of the Confederate flag. I saw that kid driving around in that pickup for a whole year and a half now. He wasn't bothering anybody. I guess Mark Hounsell seems to be the only school board member who has a say in anything because he's the only one who is against it, I guess. No one asked the other six people. Bless the Constitution.
Yes, the school responded properly. One of the trucks had written on it, "Proud to be a rebel, and I hate you too." There was a flag law in this country that states the American flag, the Stars and Stripes, must always be displayed above any other flag, certainly not beside a flag that, at the time, represented what the Stars and Bars did. These kids need to have some serious American history lessons. Carol in Albany.
Every employee at the high school does their best to make sure that every student gets all the assistance and help they need so when they become adults they can become happy, productive people. Yet these students with this flag find it humorous to bring up this terrible, sensitive situation with this flag. Regardless of your opinion about the flag, there's no reason why the school should have to deal with it. If you like your flag, keep it off the school campus. But what does it say about their parents? It says their parents are ingrates and do not understand that the school is trying to help every student become a better person. You can have your freedom of speech and all that, but why put the school on the spot with this subject. This subject should never come up.
I'm Jon, a local senior at Kennett High School. In recent weeks, all of this flag nonsense has, in my opinion, has been blown way out of proportion. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that some of my friends who are at the epicenter of this thing can't fly the "rebel flag." It's not about racism, or inequality, or separation between the races or anything like that. What these kids are doing is trying to make a statement and, so far, they have. All of the kids that fly the "rebel flag" are probably the nicest group of kids I know. Now, I have never flown the "rebel flag," and I can't say that I stand for everything that it stands for, but what I don't stand for is that my friends are being bullied, harassed and threatened at Kennett High School by students and faculty alike for the flag that they were forced to take down because it is "prohibited from being displayed" at Kennett. It's for a change in the school system. A lot more than you know goes on at Kennett, at least from a students' standpoint. And I'm sure there's a lot more that gets swept under the rug that us students never hear about. P.S. You're article in the paper on the "rebel" flag was excellent, and I really enjoyed reading it. Although it was the paper "prohibited from being displayed" at Kennett I took liberty into my own hands and grabbed a couple extra copies and made sure that Kennett couldn't sweep this one under the rug.
It's disgusting to ban the wearing of the Confederate flag! It reeks of control! What's next, telling people what color of underwear to wear? Why aren't you worried about something important like "why are they spending trillions of dollars on space exploration?" Are they looking for another planet to screw up like this one? Or what about the current war that we are in?" Get a clue folks before it's too late! Just saying...
The school did the right thing. I don't buy any of the arguments that it is a First Amendment issue or that is is a symbol of pride. Since when has the Confederate Flag had any heritage in New Hampshire? The bottom line is that for many that flag is a symbol of hate. That is reason enough to keep it out of our schools and public places. Can't these students find a more positive way to exercise their First-Amendment rights? I think they are just being rebellious in an unproductive and insensitive manner.
Of course not. What do a former state senator, a high school principal and a few teenage girls at Kennett High School have in common? They all behave the way some media person behind a desk making $75,000 a year tells them how to. They just believe what they are told they should believe. How else do you explain their ignorance. Pathetic sheep, really. I issue a challenge to these PCers: Actually read about the battle flag and its original meaning and then actually formulate your own opinions. What a novel concept, huh? The flag flyers at least have informed minds instead of being mindless sheep. Baaa.
I appreciate the action Principal Moylan took. The issue of free speech in a school environment is complicated. The bottom line is that when kids are legally required to be in school, they can't be required to be subjected to a symbol with the sordid history and connotations of the Confederate battle flag. Just because people are unaware of the significance of a symbol they espouse doesn't mean that meaning disappears. You couldn't wear a swastika and tell people it doesn't stand for genocide and hate just because you say so. I'm curious about these kids' identification with the flag, and the fact that they think it can coexist with their patriotism. Are they aware that 350,000 U.S. troops were killed by men flying that flag and other Confederate banners? And that the last time that flag was in the news, nine people were murdered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.? My hope would be that school personnel and all parties can find a way for this to be a teachable moment for everyone involved. Andy Davis, Albany.
Of course Kennett should prohibit the display of the Confederate flag. These students need to spend more time studying history. What will be next, displaying the swastika? And calling that freedom of speech? Just because you can doesn't mean you should, and these students need to realize what the Confederate flag symbolized and why it's inappropriate to wave it around as a First Amendment right.
No, they didn't respond properly, a cartoonist I can understand being ignorant, but a high school principal? The flag is a battle flag, not a hate symbol, people. How about Barack Moylan using this as a teaching moment — especially to the few kids who said they were offended, instead of overreacting, banning the flag and getting on the intercom saying that we don't live in the South, while issuing an executive order. Wow, what leadership. He could have assembled the student body for an hour or so and had the history teachers explain the Civil War and battle flag. Or better yet, brought Bill Marvel in to explain to the students and unfortunately to the principal, the actual reality. Neal also could have compromised, telling the kids not to bring the flag inside the building, but they could still display them on their vehicles. Instead Neal is just being a huge enabler for the uninformed and misguided sheep. Quite sad actually and a bit disturbing. Not his finest moment.
The proper response for the school would be to educate their charges about the Confederate flag. The flag they are so proudly waving is only one of three flags that the South fought under. It was used as the Confederate navy jack in the last two years of the Civil War and as the Army of Virginia battle flag. It was never used as a national flag of the Confederate States. After the Civil War it was never flown again until the 1940s when the Dixiecrat party, who supported segregation, adopted it — as did the Ku Klux Klan. In 1963 Governor George Wallace raised the flag over the Alabama state house to show the state's opposition to integration and the Civil Rights movement. The flag has nothing to do with southern heritage unless that heritage is racism.
I am a concerned student of Kennett High School writing to discuss the recent controversy over the Confederate flag which has been recently interrupting our school day. After reading the article that was published about the issue on Friday, I, as well as a few of my peers, thought the views of the majority of the students in the school were not duly represented. I can not speak for the entire student body, but the majority of the people I have discussed this issue with agree that the precautions taken by the Mr. Moylan and the rest of the administration of the high school are a step in the right direction. Regardless of whether or not I believe the flag should be flown at all, flying it at school disrupts the functioning of the educational establishment we have in place in the valley. When people feel harassed by the very presence of a symbol, any symbol, whether it's the swastika or the Confederate flag, it has no business being flown on school grounds. People need to realize that it is almost irrelevant what the flag represents to the person who flies it and it is of far greater importance what it represents to those who see it. These symbols are main reason why our society can not move beyond the hate that is racism and other forms of harassment such as homophobia, and xenophobia. The First Amendment does protect the right to say what you want but that doesn't mean society should accept these offensive acts.
Regaring the latest flap on flying the Confederate battle flag, if it were the Islamic flag, I bet that would be no problem. Peggy, North Conway.
Since when does Mark Hounsell speak for the school board or for the ever-so politically correct Neil Moylan? The so-called "divisive bullying thing" is a figment of Hounsell's fertile imagination and never occurred. Instead, some of the students who believe in free speech wanted to discuss it. No bullying whatsoever. Just peaceful demonstrations until Moylan had the decency to discuss it. This was not about race or divisiveness. This was about a person's fundamental rights. I think the real question is why now, after the kids had been allowed to display the flag in the past? Constitutionalist.
The hot topic of the week at Kennett High School was freedom of expression and whether or not it's allowed when it offends others. To clarify, students attached Confederate flags to their trucks and drove on school property. Anger at this display prompted these students to parade up Eagles Way with flags, resulting in a ban on Wednesday. It seems as if the student body is split half and half; one group thinks that the flag represents heritage and not hate, while the other recognizes the flag as anti-American, racist and a general symbol of intolerance and hatred. The latter group supports the ban of the flag from the premises, and the student council had received multiple complaints telling them that the flag offended people and made them uncomfortable prior to the drama. Seeing as the flag has been removed from other schools, and knowing what it represents, nothing is wrong with Kennett prohibiting the flag from school property. The Civil War took place from 1861 to 1865 and was fought by the United States, the North, and the Confederacy, the South. The Confederacy was formed by states trying to secede from the United States. Primarily, they felt their rights as states were being infringed upon when the North pushed anti-slavery politics, and slave states felt that they would soon have their ownership of humans taken away. The South believed that their economy would suffer at the loss of the cheap labor that the slaves provided, and felt that the federal government prohibiting slavery was taking away their rights as states to make decisions for themselves. Thus the war was fought, and the Confederacy created a flag. Actually, they created many. The flag used in modern times is the Second Confederate Navy Jack, a more rectangular version of The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, which was designed by Southern journalist William T. Thompson. Describing the design, Thompson wrote: "As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause ... Such a flag ... would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as the white man's flag. ... As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of the superior race, and a civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity and barbarism. Another merit in the new flag is, that it bears no resemblance to the now infamous banner of the Yankee vandals." The man who designed the flag states plainly here that it represents white power and separation from the "Yankee vandals," also known as the United States. The designer of the flag was a racist and chose for the flag to have white to specifically
showcase white supremacy. An argument one can hear often from the supporters of the flag is that it represents their heritage, and that it's their right to showcase their family lineage on the backs of their trucks. While freedom of expression is very important, we need to know where to draw the line. A person can't traipse around the cafeteria with a swastika, because it's an offensive, hate-filled symbol with a bloody past. The Confederate flag is, in essence, a swastika with a lower death count. Neonazis seem to think so: In Germany, where the swastika is banned, Nazis fly the Confederate flag in its place. More supporters of the flag say it's comparable to the gay pride flag but, once again, they're incorrect and grasping at straws. The pride flag was created to raise up the LGBTQ+ community, a group that has been oppressed and beaten down by society for years. By contrast, the Confederate flag was created to represent a group that wanted to fight the United States and keep African Americans enslaved. The difference is no one planned to design the pride flag in a way that in any way resembled superiority over straight, cis-gendered individuals. The same cannot be said for the flag of the Confederacy. A final point must be made regarding a ban on the flag. Schools are most often able to pull off such a ban that limits a student's freedom of expression if it in anyway disrupts the school's learning environment. One school was taken to court for a student being banned from wearing a coat with a Confederate flag, saying that they were infringing on the boy's rights. This was rejected because evidence showed that the jacket had created racial tension. While Kennett's main demographic is Caucasians (with little to no racial or ethnic diversity), there has been extreme tension caused by this flag, with verbal fights and Internet debates. The Confederate flag is a symbol of racism that has been used in history to protest when people of color have the possibility of gaining basic human rights. The presence of it in modern society is ludicrous, and the argument that it is the expression of culture rather than a blatant statement of racial bias is disproved time and time again. While these "proud Americans" might not be racist themselves, they're showcasing a racist symbol, and making others uncomfortable with such a hate-filled symbol. If nothing else, the flag should be removed because of how it represents our school. To summarize, don't let racism and ignorance be part of your teenage rebellion; it's offensive and history doesn't support you.
Racial inequality has been a hot topic in recent current months, especially since Michael Brown was shot by Officer Darren Wilson back in August of 2014. Since then, movements like the Black Lives Matter campaign have taken a front seat in a modern-day fight for civil rights. The racial inequality people have witnessed has also taken a toll on the nationwide attitudes toward the Confederate flag. In early July 2015, Bree Newsome climbed the flagpole outside of the South Carolina state house and removed the Confederate flag after a shooter opened fire on a historically black church in Charleston. Many people supported her; social media users even raised $125,000 for her legal expenses. The flag was officially removed later that month. There was overwhelming support for Bree Newsome and her cause started a debate regarding the flying of the Confederate flag. Even though it has been 150 years since the Civil War and 52 years since Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, a pivotal part in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, there is still a huge amount of racial inequality in America. Minorities are still oppressed. To every white man's dollar, a black woman will make 77 cents. Now, that's just one example, but people of color experience injustice like this all the time. So why does this matter in a predominantly white area of the country? Why am I so concerned? Why am I writing about this now? Over the past few months, I have seen a few Confederate flags pop up across the valley. Now, Kennett High School is dealing with the issue of whether or not students should be allowed to have the flag flying from their cars and display it on their clothing. On Wednesday morning, it was announced that the flag was not allowed on school property, and students with the flag on their vehicles or clothing were asked to remove them. Some students simply don't care. It doesn't matter to them whether the flag should be flown or not, while other students feel very passionately about the topic. When I first started seeing the flag at school, it made me very uncomfortable. As of 2015, the school dress code states: "Concern for personal appearance is an indication of self-respect and of courtesy toward others." In the same handbook, students are told, "You have a right to a positive and appropriate learning environment," "You have the right to a safe school environment," "You have the right to your own beliefs," and "You have the right to be treated with respect." These are the guidelines students need to follow, but promoting the Confederate flag in this environment goes against all of this. People have used the argument that by taking away the right to fly the Confederate flag, you are also taking away a student's freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Believing in the removal of the flag from school premises isn't taking this away. Students who support the flag have created an unsafe and uncomfortable learning environment for some, taking away what students are at school to do. If the dress code wants students to have self respect and courtesy towards others, is promoting a symbol that represents hate and intolerance for so many people truly following that protocol? Students have also tried to counter the removal of the flag by saying that it's a battle flag. Despite what it may or may not be, seeing it reminds some of us of the enslavement of millions of people who were treated in an abhorrent and inhumane way for so long. Even the creator of the flag, William Tappan Thompson, called it "the white man's flag." The history of that flag goes hand in hand with the discrimination and oppression that modern-day people of color face. As a community that is about 95 percent white, we still need to consider how non-whites feel. Though you may not feel that way, or you may have a black friend who doesn't mind the flag, one needs to take into consideration the broader picture — especially when it's an unsafe feeling in a school setting. Unlike the gay pride flag, the Confederate flag has a deep-rooted, historically negative connotation surrounding it. Yet still, people want the removal of the gay pride flag due the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag. The gay pride flag has never been associated with oppressing an entire group of people based who they are, nor has it been supported by a group who feels that they are superior to others by the traits they have. That being said, in hate groups like the KKK as well as ones outside of the United States, the Confederate flag is used in place of the Swastika. So, the gay pride flag shouldn't have anything to do with what's been going on with the Confederate flag. I hope we can eventually reach a point here in Conway, regardless of what political viewpoints or anything like that, we can peacefully keep the Confederate flag off of school property. We need to work towards being more be tolerant of those who are physically different and those who have opinions we may not agree with. Anything that creates an uncomfortable, unsafe situation for students needs to be dealt with. It just so happens that the Confederate flag is what we need to deal with at the moment.