Education

Miami students disciplined for bringing Confederate flag to school after election

One of the students involved in the incident at Coral Reef Senior High School. The photo was shared on Instagram.
One of the students involved in the incident at Coral Reef Senior High School. The photo was shared on Instagram.

For all of its diversity, Miami-Dade has not been immune to the politically- and racially-charged run-ins that have hit schools across the country following last week’s presidential elections.

On Monday, Miami-Dade schools confirmed that several students at Coral Reef Senior High School had brought at least one Confederate flag, which is widely seen as a symbol of slavery, to school on the day after the election. In an image shared on Instagram, one student was photographed in his school uniform holding the large flag and wearing a baseball hat with the Donald Trump campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

The incident, which took place in the school parking lot, involved three high school seniors, all of whom were punished, said Miami-Dade Schools spokeswoman Daisy Gonzalez-Diego.

“Miami-Dade County Public Schools respects and encourages freedom of speech and expression, but our priority is to ensure we maintain an environment conducive to teaching and learning,” Gonzalez-Diego said. She added that the students were “disciplined in accordance with the district’s Code of Student Conduct for disrupting the educational process” and had “expressed regret for their actions.” She said she could not elaborate on the punishment because of federal privacy laws.

A few Coral Reef students reacted on Twitter, calling the act “ignorant and insensitive” and saying they were “disgusted.”

Meanwhile, about 25 students at Miami Palmetto Senior High School protested Donald Trump’s election on Thursday afternoon, staging a 15-minute sit-in. The students chanted and held signs reading #Not My President, according to the school district.

Elsewhere in Florida, racially-charged fliers were found on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville over the weekend and on Monday. The handful of fliers left in several spots on campus read, “Tired of anti-white propaganda in college? You aren’t alone,” according to the Independent Florida Alligator, the university’s newspaper. The fliers included a link to an anti-Semitic blog.

University president Kent Fuchs put out a statement Monday afternoon saying that he found the message on the fliers “offensive.”

“With politics and differing points of view leading to heightened frustrations and concerns across the nation and in Gainesville, I reaffirm that our university is a caring and diverse community,” Fuchs said.

Students at schools across the country have reported dozens of racially-charged bullying incidents on social media following the presidential elections, including students chanting “Build a wall” and harassing Mexican and Muslim students.

Caitlin Ostroff of the Independent Florida Alligator contributed to this report.

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