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Marana High School bans students from bringing Confederate Flag to campus

Posted at 10:13 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 12:31:13-05

Unless it's a part of the curriculum, the Confederate Flag is now banned from Marana High School.

In a recent letter to parents, Principal David Mandel explained after a "dramatic increase in the number of students and staff sharing concerns and students feeling unsafe as a result of the Confederate flag" on campus, it is no longer allowed on campus. 

"This action represents our efforts to provide a safe and supportive educational environment for all students, with recognition that the Confederate Flag, as a symbol, represents many things," Mandel wrote in the letter.

This decision -- aimed at protecting students and staff -- is upsetting a smaller group of students.

"They are overreacting," Marana High School Senior Jesse Lagois said. "Because we're simply doing nothing but letting a piece of cloth fly from our vehicles."

He feels as if this new decision prohibits him from expressing himself. He grew up in Missouri and moved to Southern Arizona just before starting high school. He and his friends fly the Confederate Flag in the back of their trucks, but say they don't mean to intimidate or upset anyone. He believes the symbolism of the Confederate Flag has been distorted over the years, and that people don't understand it's true meaning.

"I don't see it as a symbol of slavery and racism and hate to other people," Lagois said. "I see it as the Southerners, standing up for what they believe in, trying to get their freedom back and all of that."

Though passionate about his flag, Lagois says he would take it down peacefully if another student asked him to. However, he says no student has ever come up to him expressing negative feelings.

"Nobody's ever come up to me and asked me, 'hey can you please put that up, I don't like it,'" he said.

He explained he's actually been a target -- multiple times.

"I've had a soda thrown at me. People telling us that they're going to burn the flag down on our trucks," he said. "People flipping me off on the side of the road when I put the flag up. Scream nasty, dirty things at me."

However, the school is staying firm on the decision, explaining allowing students to tout the flag on campus would be a continuous disruption to the academic atmosphere. 

 "We concluded, that the display and possession of the Confederate Flag poses a reasonable barrier to feelings of safety and sense of well-being for a large number of our students and staff," the letter says.
NOTE: The Confederacy actually had several different flags representing their nation at different times. None of which are the flag represented here. The flag seen in this story is the Second Confederate Navy Jack from 1863. It's a battle flag and was never used to represent the Confederate states. For a complete history of Confederate flags, visit this link: