1st meeting for Orange Co. task force after Confederate flag controversy

A Confederate flag flies near where the first task force meeting took place Wednesday. Photo by Michael Hyland/CBS North Carolina

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Leaders in Orange County are facing a controversy surrounding the Confederate flag.

A new task force met for the first time Wednesday night.

The meeting took place months after parents raised concerns about how often they were seeing students display the Confederate flag at Orange High School.

But, it’s not clear if anything will change.

The Confederate flag was waving near where the group was meeting – with some at the meeting hoping to see it banned from Orange County Schools.

“We really see it as a protection and a safety issue,” said Latarndra Strong of the Hate Free Schools Coalition.


The school board recently formed the task force to look at issues of equity.

The task force was triggered after people like Latarndra Strong spent months demanding the board ban the Confederate flag.

She worries about the impact it’s having and said her daughter heard something on the bus Wednesday.

“One student told another student that it was OK to use the n-word, as long as you weren’t being racist,” Strong said.

Gary Williamson has been urging the board not to ban it.

He leads the group ACTBAC NC.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled it a hate group, but he rejects that.

“The children that wear our symbols, I hope that their parents are teaching them correctly and the truths and they wear it and are proud of it for the right reasons,” Williamson said.

The school board hasn’t weighed in.

“I would say I’m more surprised by their reluctance to even discuss the issue,” said Emily Elstad of the Hate Free Schools Coalition

But, the discussions could lead to change.

The school board meets again Monday.

The people hoping to see the flag banned say there will be a large crowd at the meeting urging the board to act.

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