Students: Confederate flag issue cause of threat at Chiles High School

Published: May. 16, 2017 at 11:14 PM EDT
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By: Lanetra Bennett

May 17, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Students say the number of Confederate flags increased at Chiles High School because of a petition to ban them.

Connor Hansen, a 12th grade student at Chiles, said, "After that, it just became a point to where people want to prove them wrong. No one was even flying Confederate flags until this all happened. The next thing you know, the next day there's 50 flags at school. I maybe saw one all year. Now, there's 50. It's getting out of hand."

Then the next thing students knew, there's a threat against the school.

"I do think it's a direct cause of the whole situation." Said, Zoe Mitchell, a student at Chiles.

Hashanna Jallow is a graduating senior. She said, "It shouldn't be such a big deal. There's nobody at school. Kids should be learning right now and not worrying about the school being blown up or somebody being beaten up over this. It's nonsense."

Twelfth grader Samantha Paige said, "It's quite embarrassing. We've moved on from the Confederate flag days. So personally, I think that we should all just take it out of school and move past it peacefully."

"It doesn't surprise me at all. I think this whole situation is bringing stuff that wasn't in the light to light. So, a lot of people are just showing their true colors now." Mitchell said.

Some students made a showing at school Wednesday replacing the Confederate flag. They were driving their pickup trucks with flags flying one them. Some of them included a Trump flag, Republican flag, American flag, and the yellow flag established during the American Revolution that says, "Don't Tread on Me."

"I think everything would've been fine if they hadn't said something." Said, Hansen.

There were no reported incidents today. District officials say the school threat was unsubstantiated. Administrators told me they do not know if the threat is linked to the tension over the confederate flags.

By: Erin Lisch

May 16, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tension is building at Chiles High School after students waved confederate flags in the parking lot on Tuesday.

One parent, Billy Wilson, says his daughter told him, "Some of the kids were in the back of the cars and the back of the school waving confederate flags."

This, leaving Wilson and other parents concerned.

"Especially when it's upsetting the kids and students and stuff. And if they have right to do that, what else they got," says Wilson.

Parent Wendell Berry says he’s not against free speech, but worries about the hostility.

"It seems to be gaining momentum in a negative direction."

The school's principal says the flags are allowed on the cars, but with a stipulation.

Chiles High School Principal Joe Burgess says, "If they’re having the flags cause any kind of disruption or misbehaviors, the flags will be removed."

After Tuesday's events, Burgess says they're no longer allowed on campus. Some students agree with the decision, saying things did get out of hand.

"If someone's waving a flag at someone and using it as an offensive symbol, that's when it does become a problem, " says senior Chandler Smith. "I don't believe that having the flag in the back of the truck, that was the initial start of this is actually, is something that should be considered a symbol of hate."

Parents say kids need to put themselves in other's shoes in situations like these.

"To hear each other and to try to understand before pushing a particular agenda," says Berry.

Petitions for and against the display of the flag are online and have been signed by hundreds on either side.