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UPDATE Rocori High Students Protesting Flag Ban

UPDATE Rocori High Students Protesting Flag Ban Click to Enlarge Photo: Steven Coursolle (KNSI)

Sep 7, 2017 at 4:01 am

UPDATE The school district says it has withdrawn the new rule concerning flags after meeting with student leaders who offered to help find an approach that allows American flags to be displayed while helping to encourage respect for others. Details here. 

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - Rocori High School students are protesting after being told they can't fly the American flag on their vehicles while at school.

A new rule in the 2017-2018 student handbook prohibits students from displaying flags or banners on their vehicles while parked in the school parking lot.

Rocori School District Superintendent Scott Staska says the change stems from last spring when some students flew the Confederate flag off the back of their trucks.

"We found a minimal disruption last spring, I mean it wasn't a widespread disruption but it was disruptive enough that we felt we had to take action."

Staska says they tried to handle the situation by asking the students not to have the Confederate flag on their trucks, but that backfired when more students showed up with Confederate flags on their vehicles.

He says they couldn't ban just the Confederate flag because that would violate students' free speech, so they had to prohibit all flags on students vehicles.

A group of students decided to fly the American flag off the back end of their trucks on Wednesday, the second day of school, even though the new rule doesn't allow it.

Staska called it a "respectful protest."

"We have a row of 18 trucks with the American flags off the back end, when you look at that, that display is very, very impressive. If we had that display everyday without other controversial flags, without other controversial issues we'd be incredibly supportive of it."

School officials say they won't be confiscating or punishing students in the next couple of days for displaying the American flag.

Staska says they want to open up conversations with student leaders to make sure all students feel respected and safe.

 

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