Black student organizers alleged that only they were targeted from the protesters, letting their White peers go.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of race-motivated violence that some readers may find distressing
A group of White students at a Georgia high school brought a Confederate flag to school and the video of them waving the flag on campus sparked outrage among many other students. As the students planned a protest, the administrators cracked down on them, but let the students who brought the Confederate flag go unpunished in spite of video evidence. The school suspended the Black organizers of the planned protest. The incident happened at Coosa High School in Rome, Georgia, reported Newsweek. The video showed four students carrying the flag during a 'farm day'-themed school spirit day and allegedly chanted racial slurs.
The four students didn't face any repercussions whatsoever, spurring African-American students to organize a demonstration against the act and the act going unchecked. Many students including African-American, Latinx students, and White students came together to condemn the act and called it racist. The four students had also used racial slurs against Black students in the video. "I feel the Confederate flag should not be flown at all. It is a racist symbol and it makes me feel disrespected," said Jaylynn Murray, a student organizer, reported WGCL-TV. Another student organizer, Deziya Fain, pointed out the hypocrisy of the school by stating that they had issues with students wearing "Black Lives Matter" apparel but didn't have any issue with students flying the confederate flag, a symbol of the confederacy that caused the Civil War. The students had planned to hold a silent protest on October 8, by wearing Black Lives Matter shirts. The organizers of the protest said racism was an ongoing issue at the school.
The confederate flag is the flag of traitors. It’s not only un-American, it’s anti-American. The confederacy was against the United States.— VoteVets (@votevets) October 9, 2021
Stop pretending it’s “southern heritage” because the southern heritage that flag represents is that of human-owning traitors.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that tracks hate speech and bigotry, "the flag served as a potent symbol of slavery and white supremacy, which has caused it to be very popular among white supremacists in the 20th and 21st centuries. This popularity extends to white supremacists beyond the borders of the United States." The ADL recognizes the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate.
As soon the administration came to know of the planned protest, they hauled up the organizers to warn them. At the school's office, they were told they couldn't protest. The student argued and questioned the administrations on not disciplining the students for carrying a confederate flag on campus. Later in the day, the school made an official announcement via the intercom, warning against the protest. "The administration is aware of tomorrow's planned protest," said the school official in a message, that was recorded. "Police will be present here at school and if students insist on encouraging this kind of activity they will be disciplined for encouraging unrest."
The Black student organizers also stated that the school had suspended them while letting their white and Latinx peers go without being disciplined. A White student who was part of the protests confirmed the accusation saying the school didn't suspend her. "We both disrupted all the eighth-grade classes," said Lilyan Huckaby. While students alleged the school had taken no action against the students who waved the confederate flag, Floyd County Schools had claimed that disciplinary action had been taken but refused to elaborate on how they were punished. The Rome-Floyd County NAACP chapter had written a letter to the school earlier requesting them to address racially motivated harassment in the district. Rome-Floyd County NAACP chapter had also planned to meet with parents of Coosa High School to discuss the recent complaints of racism in the district. "We want to hear the concerns of the parents," said president Sara Dahlice Malone. "We've received so many telephone calls we need to hear it from them. Then we'll follow up on those complaints."