Black students in Rome, Georgia, are alleging racial discrimination after they were suspended for planning a protest while white students were allowed to wave a Confederate flag on campus without consequences.
Earlier this month, four white students waved a Confederate flag and allegedly said racial slurs during Coosa High School’s “farm day” themed Spirit Week, according to Yahoo News. Black students planned a protest to bring awareness to the situation but several were suspended before the demonstration got underway.
The two week-long suspensions last through Friday. They will also not be allowed to attend the homecoming celebration.
Student Deziya Fain felt disrespected about the school’s actions and said, “when we are not allowed to wear BLM (Black Lives Matter) stuff, and they are allowed to carry a racist flag around.”
Several Black, white and Hispanic students aired out their grievances with school administrators on the day of the incident to get clarity about why the Black students were suspended while white and Hispanic supporters of the protest weren’t.
That came before an announcement was made over the school’s intercom: “the administration is aware of tomorrow’s planned protest. Police will be present here at school, and if students insist on encouraging this kind of activity they will be disciplined for encouraging unrest.”
Some ignored the warnings and proceeded to hold the protest. Jaylynn Murray told CBS 46 that the Confederate flag shouldn’t be flown.
“It is a racist symbol, and it makes me feel disrespected,” said Murray.
Lekysha Morgan, a Black parent, complained about the “emotional distress” her three suspended children endured after being called racial slurs at the school before. The “Coosa administration always notes they are looking into the matter but no action is taken,” she said.
The Rome-Floyd County NAACP plans to meet with parents regarding this incident and others.
“We want to hear the concerns of the parents,” said Branch President Sara Dahlice Malone. “We’ve received so many telephone calls, we need to hear it from them. Then we’ll follow up on those complaints.”