South Carolinian teen Candice Hardwick believes her freedom of speech was violated when school officials forced her to change her clothes and turn shirts inside out because they featured the Confederate emblem. Candice, whose state still flies the Confederate flag at the state house, was even suspended from her middle school for continuing to wear the controversial logo. A federal court ruled that the school district could prevent her from wearing the clothing, but now Candice is appealing the decision.
Candice's family says she's not celebrating a past of slavery and segregation; she just wanted to honor her heritage since her family members fought for the South during the Civil War. But for many people, this argument is a smokescreen. To them, the Confederate flag unequivocally represents nostalgia for a disgraceful past, and it's not incidental that the KKK and Neo-Nazi groups use this emblem to represent their views.
If the Confederate emblem is a loaded symbol everywhere, its racial repercussions couldn't be felt more than in Candice's school district, where schools were segregated until the 1970s and separate proms were held for blacks and whites well into the 1980s. Despite Candice's arguments, the lower court ruled that Confederate clothing could disrupt learning in racially diverse schools. We'll have to wait to find out what happens on appeal. Should public schools be able to ban students from wearing Confederate clothing?