A Miami high school made up of mostly minority students okay’d a teacher on hanging a “Keep It Flying” confederate banner in the classroom despite children feeling uneasy.
Jose Nuñez the principal of Hialeah Gardens charter school Mater Academy told Miami New Times in an email that students were warned about disturbing imagery and that the confederate flag was placed on the wall to spark classroom conversation.
“Traditionally, lessons about World War II often times show a swastika; lessons about the Holocaust feature images of the concentration camps; and discussions of the slave trade feature harrowing images of the oppression of slavery,” Nuñez wrote. “The image of the flag was used in this context. An AP American History teacher used the image of the Confederate flag, along with pictures of heroes from the civil rights movement, as part of a lesson about the evils of racism and the history of the civil rights movement in the United States. The teacher gave each class period warning that they would see upsetting images. The goal was to educate, inform, and discuss race relations and civil rights as part of a high school curriculum.”
Students, on the other hand, felt like their teacher was trying to taunt them with the flag. The children said although the offensive banner was in the classroom as a history lesson, their teacher has expressed far-right views before by saying that Confederate soldiers were fighting for “states’ rights” and the North “should have lost” the war.
A former student of the teacher’s told the news source, “If it would have been any other teacher, I would have given him or her the benefit of the doubt. … But coming from him, I really think he was just trying to ‘trigger’ kids.”
The student who chose to stay unidentified due to possible repercussions from the school said the teacher used to “call us ‘snowflakes’ all the time.” Adding, “He was really open about being a Libertarian.”
Lynn Norman-Teck, the executive director of the Florida Charter School Alliance said the confederate banner “along with images of heroes from the civil rights movement” was not “not part of the classroom decor” and said it was indeed part of an AP American History class lesson. The exec said the image was completely taken out of context.
Several students have posted their disappointment in response to the photo of the Confederate banner hanging inside of Mater Academy.
One person wrote on Twitter, “Mater is a disgrace now smh…. disappointed but not surprised.”
Another added, “It’s sad that a history teacher isn’t aware the Confederacy stood for more than states rights, and although the flag has never officially represented traitors, it’s come to represent a heritage that doesn’t even represent Hialeah and instead focuses on bigotry.”