2 NY Teens Expelled Over Confederate Flag

Some parents see punishments as too harsh

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 18, 2014 10:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – You don't normally think of Long Island as a hotbed of Confederate sympathizers, but a Catholic high school there is expelling four students over two racially charged incidents, one involving the Confederate flag. On April 9, two male St. Anthony's High School students brought the flag to a handball game. Both teams were from St. Anthony's, but one was mostly white, and the other mostly black, according to WABC. The flag was quickly confiscated and the boys suspended. "Everybody was kind of like, 'Are you serious, did this actually just happen?'" one senior says.

With tensions running high, Brother Gary Cregan, the principal of the South Huntington school, asked students not to make things worse on social media, the New York Daily News reports. But soon thereafter one girl posted a picture of herself in blackface, and another posted a racially inflammatory comment. They too were initially suspended, but now Cregan has ousted them all permanently. "It's that serious and it's that obnoxious," he says. But at least some parents see it as a free speech violation—even though, as CBS NY points out, private schools aren't bound by the First Amendment.

  (Shutterstock)
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I find it just very hard to even imagine why any student in 2014 would even consider or think that a Confederate flag would be anything other than a symbol of hate - Brother Gary Cregan, principle of St. Anthony's High School

Our motto is more speech, not censorship or punishment. Helping children understand the impact of this patently offensive expressive activity. - Donna Lieberman, New York Civil
Liberties Union director

I understand it brings up bad feelings but people do have the right to express their opinions whether we agree with it or not. - Hector Gavilla, parent of a student at the school

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