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Students at Orange County, North Carolina public schools can continue displaying the Confederate flag on their clothing and other personal items.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the county’s school board rejected on Monday requests from the local NAACP, parents and students to impose a ban.

Stephen Halkiotis, the school board’s chair, expressed concerns about free speech rights, and said the board would create a committee to advise board members about symbolic speech. He also said the board would not tolerate hate speech or intimidation, the newspaper reported.

At the meeting, many of those in attendance told the board about increasing instances of the flag displayed on school bags, clothing and vehicles on school grounds. At one high school in the district, a student reportedly carried a Confederate flag around campus, and used a racial slur toward another student when asking if the symbol was offensive.

“It makes me feel isolated and distracts me,” Orange High School junior Shaniece Thorpe stated, referring to students who display the flag to feel superior to Black students, the News & Observer said.

Shaniece added: “I have the same potential or more potential than the people who feel like I am belittled in my class.”

SOURCE:  News & Observer

SEE ALSO:

Two Mississippi Universities Remove State Flag With Confederate Emblem

House Abandons Confederate Flag Ban At Veteran Cemeteries

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