Posted on February 6, 2006

Rebel Flag Shakes Up Assembly

Annie Nelson, Columbia Daily Tribune (SC), Feb. 3, 2006

Two Hickman High School students disrupted a multicultural assembly yesterday in the school’s auditorium by unfurling a Confederate flag from the balcony.

Ryan Lanman, 17, who is white, and a friend enacted their plan while another student was singing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” to commemorate the Spanish-American War and honor Texas.

After the disruption, the students involved were told to leave, and the assembly continued, Principal Mike Jeffers said, adding that he couldn’t talk about whether the students would be disciplined.

Lanman, reached by phone after the assembly yesterday afternoon, said he and fellow student Kevin Meyers meant to “show Southern pride” and didn’t intend the flag to be racist.

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The assembly included celebrations of Irish, Spanish, Bosnian, Indian, Middle Eastern, black, American, Japanese and Chinese cultures, among others, Jeffers said.

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Tom Lanman, Ryan Lanman’s father, said he disagrees with his son’s behavior and actions.

“However, a lot of students have grumbled about how the multicultural assemblies don’t represent” the Southern point of view, said Tom Lanman, adding that nobody in his family is a racist. “Ryan is a student that steps up to the plate and makes a statement. He’s a leader in that sense.”

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