The Orange County Schools Board of Education, after months of controversy over displaying the Confederate flag on school campuses, Monday night gave preliminary approval to a policy banning “racially intimidating” clothing and accessories.
The board voted in favor of changing the Orange County Public School Dress Code – Policy Code: 4316 – by inserting new language into the policy. It must give final approval on a second reading.
The vote approved the insertion of the following paragraph:
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“Clothing and accessories are not to substantially disrupt the education process. Students are not to wear clothing, buttons, patches, jewelry or any other items with words, phrases, symbols, pictures or signs that are indecent, profane, or racially intimidating.”
A key phrase within the inserted two sentences is “racially intimidating.”
Orange County Schools spokesman Seth Stephens, said that the insertion of the new language into the policy was meant to directly address the large public concern over incidents of the Confederate flag on campuses.
Stephens said the new language gave individual school principles further grounds to address – discipline – violations of “racially intimidating” clothing.
The addition to the policy does not address Confederate flags being displayed in other ways – those that do not have to do with items of clothing.
Issues revolving around the acceptability of the Confederate Flag being flown, donned and seen on Orange County Schools grounds gained traction before the board back in February.
In early February, The Northern Orange County NAACP asked the school board to ban the Confederate flag at one of its meetings. It was the second time the NAACP chapter made the request.
Latarndra Strong, founder of the Hate-Free Schools Coalition, first wrote to school leaders after seeing a truck with a Confederate flag on it pull into the student parking lot at Orange High School, her daughter’s school, three days in a row.
Strong spoke before the board, along with dozens of others in accord with her opposition to Confederate flags on Orange County Schools campuses, at a Feb. 27 school board meeting.
In the interim members of the Hate-Free Schools Coalition have repeatedly pushed the board to take action in the form of a vote that would influence its tance on the Confederate Flag on school campuses.
The Monday night vote does not change any rule, stance or school ordinance about Confederate Flags being flown or displayed on student vehicles parked in Orange County schools parking lots.