Long Island School Expels Confederate Flag-Wearing Students, Expels Two More In Blackface While They're At It
Four students from a High School in Long Island were expelled this week, after two girls posted a blackface photo on social media, complete with racial slurs. Coincidentally, two other students were also kicked out of the same school for wearing a Confederate flag to a sporting event two days earlier — clearly, this school has to up its history/basic human decency classes.
Nearly a week ago, two sophomore girls at the Catholic St. Anthony’s High School on Long Island made the dubious moral choice of being publicly racist, posting a picture of themselves in blackface on social media, accompanied by "inflammatory language." According to a statement made by the school, the girls "blatantly disregarded the principal’s request to discontinue the use of social media to inflame discrimination in the school community by displaying an inappropriate picture and comment" and were consequently expelled.
This happened only two days after two male seniors joined the school's European handball game — made up of one team of mostly black students, and another team of mostly white students — with a Confederate flag draped over their shoulders. Though the flag was pretty much immediately taken away, and the boys were given a ten day suspension, Principal Brother Gary Cregan upped the sentencing this week, expelling the students entirely. "The African-American students who immediately saw it really exercised heroic restraint, and fortunately a teacher immediately confiscated the flag and took the students out of the gym," Cregan said.
"The use of any symbol, either historic or current, which carries a meaning designed to revive past injustices or to inflame discrimination or racial intolerance, is completely unacceptable and profoundly offensive," the school added in a letter to parents.
Because St. Anthony's is a private school, it isn't bound by the First Amendment right to free speech and is therefore within its rights to discipline the students however it sees fit — which some groups, such as the New York Civil Liberties Union, have pointed out is problematic. Said the NYCLU director to WCBS-TV: "Our motto is more speech, not censorship or punishment [and] helping children understand the impact of this patently offensive expressive activity."
Oddly, this isn't the first time in the last year that people have gotten into trouble for donning blackface (remember Halloween?). In early November, three employees of San Diego State University were actually suspended for dressing up as the Jamaican bobsled team by dressing in blackface.