Orange County school leaders ask officials for a revised draft of dress code

A deputy's car at Stanback Middle School on Monday evening. Photo by Michael Hyland/CBS North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — A few sheriff’s deputies were at an Orange County School Board meeting on Monday evening, which is unusual.

The meeting came after Wednesday’s first meeting of a task force examined the issue of the Confederate flag being in Orange County schools.

As groups of people arrived at the meeting at Stanback Middle School, they were waving Confederate flags.

“It’s my heritage,” said Barry Brown.

 Others who want it banned tried to explain to them why.

“It’s insinuating to most of us that you hate black people,” said Betty Curry.

For months, the Hate-Free Schools Coalition has been trying to get the Orange County School Board to ban Confederate flags at schools.

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After hearing groups like the North Carolina Tactical Response Force Militia would be at the meeting, sheriff’s deputies showed up to provide security.

The school board heard from a group of students, parents and community members supporting the ban — and one person who opposes it.

“I ask that you not ban the flag but teach about it,” said James Ward.

The board took up the district’s dress code policy regarding symbolic speech.

Members took no action but asked the superintendent to draft a revision of that policy and asked for more data on discipline and bullying.

“But, when you ban one thing, you open a Pandora’s Box, or you may be banning a whole lot of things,” said Dr. Stephen Halkiotis, the chairman of the Orange County School Board.

The school board is planning a work session devoted to this issue in the next couple weeks.

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