Jim L. LeBrun, the superintendent of the Ware County public schools, explained Friday why the disrupting presence of a symbol such as the Confederate flag can be legally banned from public school property in the wake of an incident that happened at Ware County High School on Aug. 18.
Daryl Lott’s letter to the editor was published in the Journal-Herald Thursday. In it Lott claimed that his right to display the Confederate flag is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
However, LeBrun maintains precedent was set by a ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court allowing a school system to ban Confederate symbols.
Lott said he was told to leave the Ware High campus last week (Aug. 18) when he arrived there to pick up his 10th grade daughter with two Confederate flags in the bed of his pickup truck. He said school officials and city police threatened him with arrest for trespassing and disturbing the peace.
LeBrun issued this statement Friday:
“One of the responsibilities of the school administration is to maintain an environment of civility and citizenship in the school setting. When a school faces a potential disruption, the administration is well within their rights to act accordingly.
“The Confederate flag symbolizes many things for many people. Given the recent tragic events in our county, state and nation, it is certainly reasonable to expect a disruption resulting from the appearance of a Confederate flag on school grounds.
“The school property belongs to the Ware County Board of Education. We certainly welcome the public onto our school campus to act and conduct themselves in a civil manner, but not to potentially cause disruptions. The Board of Education is charged with maintaining the property and keeping order. They pass this charge on to the administration, i.e. the superintendent and the principals. Therefore, school officials must make decisions that consider the safe and orderly environment of the school campus.
“A ban on the display of Confederate symbols is not unconstitutional, as decided in Scott vs. School Board of Alachua County, a case tried in the Eleventh Circuit Court. Therefore, school administrators have not violated any constitutional rights by banning the display of Confederate flags on school property.”