NAACP weighs in on confederate flags at VBHS - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

NAACP weighs in on confederate flags at VBHS

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They are the images stirring up controversy at Vero Beach High School. 

“It's not how you feel about the flag. It's about the people who feel afraid,” says parent Kelly Von Gal.

Students and their parents are concerned, after they say several students began to wear clothes and display images that contained the confederate flag to school last week.

Pictures were shared on social media with intimidating messages.

The local NAACP chapter is stepping in.

President Tony Brown says the situation has been escalating.

“There's a young male...[his] grandmother came to my house this morning,” he says. “His life has been threatened. She's ready to pull him out of school.”

Latoya Morgan has a junior at Vero Beach High School.

“She's concerned something is going to happen at school,” Morgan says. “She doesn't understand how could a school system allow it.”

For Kelly Von Gal, a Vero Beach High grad, it's all too familiar.

She says the school has a history.

“There was a ton of racial fights, and the tension was always there, and it was very divided,” she says.

After incidents involving the flag at another school last year, the district decided against banning the flag, citing freedom of speech for students.

Kelly and others Tuesday say they want that to change.

“This isn't free speech, it's intimidation.”

The district released the following statements concerning the controversy:


Official Statement from SDIRC Superintendent, Dr. Rendell:

Student safety is always our top priority.  That means social and emotional safety as well as physical safety.  I visited the Vero Beach High School campus this morning.    I was in classrooms and was present in the hallways as students traveled to and from classes.  I witnessed a calm and relaxed atmosphere.  The incident last week involved only a handful of students - six to be exact.  That is less than one half of one percent of the student body.  Even still we will not let the actions of a few students jeopardize the educational environment of the rest of the students.  This is something that we will continue to work on, fostering an environment of trust and respect amongst all students.

Official Statement from Vero Beach High School Principal Mr. O’Keefe:

While we maintain the rights of students to exercise freedoms of expression, we also uphold school district policies so that such expression does not interfere with school work, or disrupt our orderly learning environment.  As it turned out, there were no disruption or incidents related to the 2 confederate flags that were brought onto campus Friday.  Very few students were involved.  Students involved were addressed to ensure that there is clear understand of policies and rights, and their parents notified by school administration, for the same purpose.

The fact is that we are a large school full of young adults who are keenly watching the world around them, and we often become a mirror of society.  As parents and educators, we are there to help our children and students make good choices.  At VBHS there has not been any disorder or disruptions to the educational program.  There were no reports brought to school administration nor to campus law enforcement of discrimination, bullying or harassment. There are no concerns for school safety at this time. 

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