Remove all Confederate flags and Rebel symbols from Effingham County High school
Symbols of hate have no place in schools. I grew up in Effingham and went to school there from K-12th grade. I graduated from Effingham County High School (class of 1999). My experience will forever be tarnished by the Confederate symbols on the walls of the schools. Our mascot continues to be the Confederate Rebel (this image is the first image you see upon visiting the campus. Students also see this image in the halls and our black boys continually view this image in the weight room of ECHS http://www.myfoxal.com/story/29782051/local-schools-deal-with-confederate-controversy . Our fight song continues to be Dixie (a derogatory song used during blackface minstrels). Though Dr. Shearouse says school law prohibits the use of the Confederate flag on school propery, why does the school sanctioned cheer team named RebelRousers (https://twitter.com/RebelRousersEC) continues to use and display the Confederate flag on school property My children do not go to Effingham County High but I have friends who do have black children who go there and I write this because I fight for those that are being silenced. These "Southern heritage" symbols- the Rebel, the Confederate flag murals, and the fight song "Dixie"--represent slavery, oppression, and hatred to 20% of Effingham County High School's student population. Superintendent Dr. Shearouse continues to "rebel" against the removal of all Confederate ideology that is woven into the school sends a STRONG message of who they value and that ALL STUDENTS/COMMUNITIES are not being treated fairly. Source: http://www.wtoc.com/story/29782051/local-schools-deal-with-confederate-controversy Imagine the uproar the nation would have if a school allowed Nazi symbols at their school that had over 20% Jewish population. With the history of what these symbols have stood for to the black community and with the recent terrorist murders that occurred at the historically black AME Episcopal church in Charleston, why does Effingham Board leaders continue to "rebel" against eliminating these symbols of hate? I have seen the continued talk of "Southern pride" argument. Yet this is the viewpoint of white citizens and neglects the viewpoints of the black mothers and fathers who send their children to learn in a SAFE, INCLUSIVE environment which is the tenet of all schools. ECHS is a public school and therefore receives funds from tax payers which includes black Effingham tax payers. Yet their tax money is being used to keep these Confederate symbols on the walls without their consent. Those who want the symbols removed are told to it should stay because "its tradition" or "it's heritage". However these symbols are NOT everyone's heritage or tradition. In the Effingham County student code of conduct it states" the policy of this School District to prohibit any act of harassment of students by other students or employees based upon race, color, national origin, sex, or disability at all times and during all occasions while at school, in the workplace or at any school event or activity." Yet this is exactly what the school system is doing by allowing this to occur. The school boards INACTION is allowing a certain group of students to feel harrassed based on their race. The removal of the Confederate flag is just an outward expression of systematic racism going on at ECHS and that is being condoned by an ALL WHITE school board (http://www.effinghamschools.com/Page/560) During the 2004 and 2008 Presidential debates, black students were called “nigger” on a daily basis in the halls. Yet the administration did nothing. The ECHS administration allowed this ugly climate to fester which resulted in multiple fights occurring at ECHS. In addition, Effingham County has only ZERO black administrator out of 14 schools in Effingham County. Let's do some math. Effingham County schools have both a principal and a vice-principal. That is 28 possible administrative roles. Yet only one out of 28 possible roles is filled by a Black/African American administrator. Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods states that "school climate has a strong impact on student achievement. Students cannot learn in environments that do not support them" ( https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Policy/Pages/School-Climate.aspx ). Could a negative school environment be part of the reason why Effingham County has a 60% graduation rate among African-American/Black students (source Georgia Department of Education graduation statistics)? These examples shared are not exhaustive and are probably just the tip of the iceberg Dr. Shearouse and Effingham County Board of Education members, we ask THAT YOU REMOVE ALL CONFEDERATE SYMBOLS and chart a new path. Why not work together to chart a new Effingham High school mascot and fight song that is inclusive of ALL STUDENTS? Doing this would be the first step in helping build a safe, inclusive, diverse environment that promotes the learning for ALL students.