CCPS Superintendent Stephen Guthrie addresses Confederate flags in schools
In a crowded room Wednesday night, one person after another got up asking for one thing: the banning of Confederate flags on shirts, accessories and more in Carroll County Public Schools.
Nearly a dozen spoke on the topic Wednesday, some young students, other parents in the community and some community leaders.
Mel Brennan, of Westminster, spoke as a parent of a Westminster High School freshman. His daughter, Brennan said, deals with seeing students with Confederate flag paraphernalia every day. And as a mixed-race child, he added, she experiences this as hate speech directed at her.
With these items, he said, Westminster High School doesn’t create “a safe or healthy school environment for her.”
Following the numerous speakers, CCPS Superintendent Stephen Guthrie addressed the issue. The school board came to a consensus to have the CCPS’s legal team look into if CCPS can legally ban the flag on shirts and other items, possibly including those on cars in the school parking lot.
Guthrie said three years ago, he looked into banning the symbol in schools, but at the time was told legally he could not.
“Since that time, three years later, I have been in conversations with Mr. Brennan and he has asked me to reconsider it … and I agree with him,” Guthrie said. “I think it is now time to do another analysis.”
Guthrie said he would not ask the school board to take any action Wednesday night that could later be overturned, instead opting to look into options and bring something back for the February meeting.
In his public comment, Brennan said allowing Confederate flags is against what the dress code lays out, referencing Page 15 of the student handbook, which reads: “Clothing shall not convey symbols or messages generally accepted to promote intolerance, hate, racial slurs, or sexual harassment.”