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Education

Durham Public Schools Revises Dress Code, Bans Confederate Flag

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista
/
For WUNC
File photo of a student drop-off zone. The Durham Public Schools system has revised its dress code to prohibit the Confederate flag, Ku Klux Klan symbols and swastikas.

A North Carolina public school system has revised its dress code to prohibit the Confederate flag, Ku Klux Klan symbols and swastikas.Local news outlets report the Durham Public Schools board voted unanimously Thursday to make the change. The Herald-Sun of Durham reports that board members had expressed support for the change during a work session last week. Durham, home to Duke University, is where protesters toppled a Confederate statue in front of the old county courthouse Aug. 14 following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that erupted into deadly violence.

"These things, historically, were meant for hate, or at some point in history, meant hatred," board chairman Mike Lee said.

In addition to the dress code, the board also voted 7-0 to remove the name of Durham industrialist and philanthropist Julian Shakespeare Carr from the middle school building at Durham School of the Arts. The building once housed an all-white high school.

At the 1913 dedication of the Confederate memorial at UNC Chapel Hill, Carr, a Confederate Civil War veteran, spoke about the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race and detailed how he beat an African-American woman because she had insulted a white woman. Protesters gathered at the memorial Tuesday to call on officials to take it down.

Workers began removing some of the plaques bearing Carr's name from the building Friday. Durham Public Schools Superintendent Bert L'Homme said the administration will review the names of all of its schools and school buildings.

Carr supported local black leaders and provided financial support to help launch what's now known as N.C. Central University, a historically black college also located in Durham.

"But for all of his contributions, the values he espoused and the brutal actions he claimed to take in no way reflect the safe and inclusive community that we are building in Durham Public Schools," L'Homme said.

"We are under no requirement to continue to name any of our school buildings after white supremacists."

The neighboring Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems have issued similar bans.

 

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