At what price, freedom…?


Torri Albrecht said Monday when she showed up to her middle school wearing a sweatshirt with the confederate flag. She said her vice principal gave her a choice:

“He said I had to take off the sweatshirt or flip it inside out or face the consequences,” Albrecht said.

But the eighth grader, who was born in Virginia and lived there just a year, said she refused to take it off.

“It shows I am from the South. I am proud of where I came from and it shows my heritage,” Albrecht said.

Albrecht’s bed is covered with her dad’s Confederate flag. He died two years ago. And it’s on the computer screen she used to buy her sweatshirt online.

However, Albrecht did admit she doesn’t know the history behind this flag, viewed by many as a racially-charged symbol.

“I don’t pay attention to that, I don’t know,” Albrecht said. . . . the teenager, who said she’s receiving death threats, insisted, “Everyone who wears it isn’t racist.”


I watched her on Channel 2 News this morning, and once again, she admitted she did NOT know the history of the symbol.

I feel this could have been handled differently, as a learning experience for all concerned.

School authorities should have asked what the symbol meant.  Upon such a response, the very moment this child said she had NO IDEA what the “Stars-n-Bars” stood for, she should have been told to go down to the school library and write a report (with references) or an essay (with points) on the symbol/flag, what it actually meant to her, and why.

She should have been told to come back with the report, and been asked to read it aloud in home room, or perhaps in English, social studies, or history class.  If she takes a second language, like Spanish, she might have been instructed to translate it into that language as well.  (Might as well “kill two birds with one stone,” eh?)

She should have been asked – then – what it really meant to her… and if she could answer intelligently, and without racism/hatred, she should have been allowed to wear the shirt, with no adverse consequences.  If her response was disrespectful to anyone, then and only then should they have moved to step two – remove or reverse the shirt, or face possible suspension.

And as for the mom’s comments (excerpted):

The teenager’s mother, who took a picture at the Kreps Middle School, said her daughter was suspended for not changing into something else — a violation, she said, of her First Amendment rights.

“The Indian kids get to wear turbans. The Jewish children can wear yarmulkes. That’s their birth right, their heritage. It’s my daughter’s heritage,” said Jane West, Albrecht’s mother.

. . . . Albrecht’s mother said she plans on suing her current school district.

… those are religious symbols, Ms. Albrecht… the “Stars-n-Bars” is not.

Goddess Bless.  Let Freedom Ring.


Added on December 4, 2011… a Black college student wishes to hang the “stars-n-bars” in his dorm room…



  1. Matt said,

    November 15, 2011 at 7:20 am

    It sounds like the girl’s motives were innocent and about her dad. Looks to me like someone set her up by not explaining the obvious, that while to their family that symbol meant one thing but to other people it meant something else, & could lead to signals being crossed.
    I like the intent and spirit of the send-her-to-the-library approach, but I don’t know if a 13 year old with issues about her dead confederate father is really up to digesting the nightmare of history.
    I once took a rifle to school, a ‘jap’ one my grandfather had brought back from the war. I knew I hadn’t seen other kids bring guns to school, but had no inkling of the trouble it’d cause. Didn’t help I was in first grade n could barely lift the thing…. telling the story now I really think it was my parents job to prevent this from happening. And its this girls mother who I think ought to be sent to the library.


  2. Janel Venis said,

    November 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

    The confederate flag was never intended to be a symbol of racism, but rather a symbol of the southern state’s vie for independence. It was made into a symbol of hate by people who needed something to focus their blame toward. The “swastika” has suffered the same demise… it was originally a Christian symbol until Hitler got a hold of it and turned it into something else. It’s time, I believe, for people to stop focusing on things and truly focus on actions and words!


    • Matt said,

      November 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

      Was thinking about just some of these issues. Stars n Bars was for 4 years a symbol of a treacherous nation of slave holders at war against the US, that killed more than 100k loyal US soldiers. Can I be proud of my yankee ancestors too? Can I be proud we freed the slaves? Literally over the dead bodies of the traitors who chose to betray america? Wanna go there? We can go there.
      Then, for a century n a half stars n bars was symbol of police-backed terrorism of KKK. Where’s the innocent part? What about all the other decades when Va was fine with being American? Sorry tj, don’t wanna rain on anyones parade, but some of us are american, southern, antiracist, and proud.


  3. wiccanwoman said,

    November 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Matt, no worries. You are NOT raining on my parade at all. I don’t believe in censorship, and good, healthy, respectful argument is allowable here. Namaste.


  4. FeistyAmazon said,

    November 20, 2011 at 3:13 am

    I’m raised Jewish. As far as I’m concerned the Confederate flag is a close cousin to the Nazi flag… some could say they want to show their White Power German pride too… many of the same folks fly one or the other, espousing the same ideologies. Check out: Southern Poverty Law Center who stands up to anti-Semitic, anti-gay, racist and immigrant hate groups and militias… the bodies that have been destroyed behind these two current symbols. The Klan use the Confederate Flag along with their white Southern Brethren. My own cousin had a huge Confederate flag on his wall in his Southern home. At the time I was just a kid and didn’t fully understand it, but neither did they act friendly to us being Jewish northerners (yes my Mom married my Dad and converted for the sake of us kids) and constantly they taunted us for being ‘Yankees’. They also used all the racial epithets extremely freely peppered throughout their speech, including the adults, not seeing a problem with them. This is why, as a raised Jewish Pagan Lesbian I have NOTHING to do with this side of the family… I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable or safe around them.

    Yes indeedy one SHOULD research ANY symbol they are claiming and wearing, ignorance is NO EXCUSE. A Nazi symbol would not be ok, why should a Confederate symbol be excused? And for the fact of ‘Southern Pride’, I know MANY Black Southerners in the Bay area, and I’ve asked some of them if they would EVER sport a Confederate flag, and each and every one of them said “NO WAY” and yet they too are proud to be from the South, because they KNOW the Confederate flag is a hate symbol… disguised as Southern Pride, while their brethren swung on trees “Strange Fruit” by Bessie Smith, or had crosses burned in their front yards… Do NOT excuse hate symbols, even if cleverly disguised….


  5. FeistyAmazon said,

    November 21, 2011 at 6:13 am

    And NO the swastika was NOT originally a Christian symbol, but it was referred to as the ‘twisted cross’. It is a very ancient symbol representing the whirlwind, which could go in positive or negative direction,both an Eastern symbol from the Far East, and also a Native American symbol, but even the Native Americans put it to rest because of how it was tainted by the Nazis. It is very much a magical symbol that represents the boomerang of the whirlwind, that Hitler used to get into power(there’s some thinking he had negative magicians behind him, and some of the Eastern religious iconography he ripped off), and his Mistress begged him to ONLY use the Swastika going in the positive, sunwise, deosil position, and originally it went both ways…but he decided to use the one going into the negative direction, and as you see it swept him into power and right on out with a huge swath of devastation in only 13 years time! I have studied this symbol in particular, as well as some of the others, and much of the history behind it, always wondering when I was a kid, teen and young adult “Why were the Jews sacrificed in this manner?” It was hard being part of the “Never Again” generation to understand the devastation wrought against our people.When I found out the Nazi magical connections, and some of it is very fascinating, it all began to make sense to me. Also the English Witches and magical orders weaved spells of protection to keep the British Isles from being conquered and one such (fictionalized) tale is “Lammas Night” which is really, really interesting. There is also other literature and documentaries on this subject, but they are hard to find. Hitler also closed down all the German magical orders who weren’t working explicitly for him on his behalf….and the S.S. was part of some of the (negative) workings.


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