A Virginia high school reportedly suspended more than 20 students Thursday after wearing clothing that displayed Confederate flags. The dress code states that students cannot wear any clothing that could “reflect adversely on persons due to race” and specifies that “clothing with Confederate flag symbols” counts, according to Washington Post.
Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman Brenda Drake said that up to 23 students at Christiansburg High School violated the dress code and refused to change when the students were offered the chance. Drake said the students received one-day, in-school suspensions, according to USA Today.
She also said that most of those suspensions became out-of-school suspensions once the students starting being disruptive. Administrators would not immediately respond to requests for comments from several media outlets.
Senior Houston Miller does not intend to back down on the issue. Miller organized a rally outside of the school Thursday to protest the school’s new policy banning vehicles with Confederate flags or symbols in its parking lot, Associated Press reports.
On the first day of the school year, Principal David Siers asked three students at the school to remove Confederate flag decals from their cars, and they complied, according to News Messenger. The newspaper added that students had to sign an agreement to follow the rules in order to receive a parking pass.
Miller was among many of the other students who were suspended. Though he was suspended Thursday, he plans to go into school on Friday wearing Confederate flag gear because he thinks he should have the right to wear whatever he chooses to wear, according to AP.
Symbols of the Civil War that relate to the Confederacy were heavily criticized recently after a white man shot up a historically black Methodist church in Charleston, S.C. in June. The 21-year-old, Dylan Roof, posed in photographs waving the Confederate flag, The Post reports.
This led to legislators’ concerns over Confederate symbols in South Carolina. Legislators voted to remove a Confederate flag that flew on statehouse grounds for years. Colleges around the country have also been reconsidering their flags, icons and monuments that concern Confederacy.