Public schools in the South Carolina city where nine black church members were shot and killed earlier this year have banned students from displaying emblems with the Confederate flag. The move sparked a conversation among Horry County Schools officials, but the district’s code of conduct has not been changed for the 2015-16 school year.
The Charleston County School District code of conduct for the school year that began this week prohibits students from wearing clothing, jewelry or other apparel bearing the image of the Confederate flag.
The code also says the emblem cannot be displayed prominently on vehicles driven to school.
The code notes that the change is being made “in light of a year marred with racially divisive and tragic events.”
Horry County Schools has not changed its dress code this year, and district spokeswoman Teal Harding said the code does not ban any specific sign or symbol.
“There’s a whole host of things that could potentially cause a disruption in the school environment, but the Confederate flag is not specifically named in that,” Harding said.
The district sets a minimum code of conduct and any school can add to the district’s set policy, Harding said. It’s also up to the schools’ administration to determine if an article of clothing “has the potential to cause a disruption to the classroom,” she said.
Dylann Roof, the white man charged in the slayings of parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in June, had appeared in photos waving the Confederate flag.
The code says if students display the Confederate emblem at school they will be asked to remove it. It says discipline will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
School district spokesman Daniel Head said it was a staff decision to add the section to the code of conduct.
Officials with Berkeley County and Dorchester County District 2 schools said they have not discussed similar policies. But both districts have policies that give principals or administrators authority to remove student items deemed to be disruptive.
Charleston County has a similar policy.
Following the Charleston shootings in June, South Carolina lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate flag from a Confederate memorial on the Statehouse grounds in Columbia where it had flown for 15 years. The flag was removed last month.
The Sun News reporter Claire Byun contributed to this report.