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