NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — A Massachusetts school board is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal to ban the Confederate flag in the city’s schools in response to some middle school students wearing or sharing images of it during remote classes.
The vote comes after the principal of JFK Middle School in Northampton in a video last month asked students to stop wearing or displaying Confederate flags during virtual classes because it made other students feel unsafe, The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.
Students on Feb. 24 held a rally outside of the school in support of Principal Desmond Caldwell, who is Black.
Northampton School Committee vice-chair Lonnie Kaufman said the committee has been hearing about the issue from people locally and nationally.
“We decided to put it on this agenda because it’s a very important topic for a lot of people,” he said.
The meeting agenda says displays of the flag have had a “negative impact to the health and safety of students who have a right to equally access the learning environment and have credibly reported feeling unsafe when it is displayed.”
If passed, the Confederate flag would be banned from the city’s schools, whether school is virtual or in person, and at school-sponsored events. The flag’s image would be allowed in approved school library materials, and for classroom learning supervised by a teacher.
Local and federal law enforcement were notified about an anonymous Facebook page that wrote posts attacking Caldwell and his request that students not share images or wear clothing with the Confederate flag on it.