CBS New York, April 15, 2014
Two Long Island high school students have been suspended for allegedly bringing a Confederate flag to school.
Brother Gary Cregan, principal of St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, said the two seniors walked in with a Confederate flag draped around their shoulders during an after-hours sporting event at the school.
“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 students were initially suspended for 10 days, but Cregan decided Tuesday they won’t be allowed back, Brown reported.
Cregan wrote a letter to parents saying the use of any symbols “designed to revive past injustices or to inflame discrimination or racial intolerance, is completely unacceptable and profoundly offensive,” Newsday reported.
Cregan said he sees the flag as a symbol of hate.
“I find it just very hard to even imagine why any student in 2014 would even consider or think that a Confederate flag would be anything other than a symbol of hate,” Cregan said.
In response to those who said the students were exercising their right to free speech, Cregan said there are limits.
“I certainly think this particular symbol of hate falls in the category of something that should be excised from our culture,” Cregan said.
The students haven’t explained why they did it. St. Anthony’s is a private Catholic school and isn’t bound by the First Amendment right to free speech.