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Students Fight to Wear Confederate Flag Shirts; Nixa Schools Keep Ban, Cite Past Racism

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heritage-not-hate.jpg
Courtesy of Jodie Snider.
Part of the shirt sparking controversy.
One year ago, Colby Snider, a seventeen-year-old Nixa resident, died from carbon monoxide poisoning. His younger brother and friends wanted to wear t-shirts to Nixa High School on the anniversary of his death this month to honor the late teenager, who would have turned nineteen this August. Nixa Public Schools, however, would not let them. Why?

The shirts have confederate flags on them.

"The rebel flag doesn't cause hate. People cause hate," Jodie Snider, mother of Colby, tells Daily RFT. "To all of us, it's about being from the south.... This is about being southern, living the southern way. It's not about whether you're black or white."

Snider says the shirts are in no way meant as a symbol of hate and that it's important to her and her family that they wear the flag (photos below) in memory of her son. School officials in Nixa, which is twelve miles south of Springfield, see it very differently -- and cite a history of racism in defense of their policy.

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The schools have an explicit ban on students wearing or bringing the flags on school property -- and despite a push from Snider and supporters over the last few weeks for an exception on the May anniversary of Colby's death, the rule remains in place.

"The policy was developed after the confederate battle flag was used in various racial incidents," Zac Rantz, communications director for Nixa Public Schools, says in a statement sent to Daily RFT yesterday. "This policy first stemmed from events that occurred in the mid-1990's and has been reaffirmed by boards since that time because the confederate battle flag has continued to be used in racial threats against students."

colby-snider.jpg
Courtesy of Jodie Snider.
Colby Snider.

Thumbnail image for friends-colby-snider-grave.jpg
Courtesy of Jodie Snider.
Friends gathered wearing the shirts.

He explains in his statement, full version below, that non-white families in the Nixa area were harassed both inside and outside of the school. Suspects defaced lockers, made threats, posted signs over water fountains, hung nooses from rearview mirrors, dangled an effigy from a bridge -- and more. And people would drive around Nixa with confederate flags in their vehicles and would "harass minorities." Ultimately, he says, "many families who were being harassed and threatened chose to leave Nixa. It was even worn at various school sporting events, which caused racial tension with other schools."

Harassment has happened as recently as this school year, he says, which is why the policy remains in place.

The Snider family, however, emphasizes that the use of the flag has nothing to do with any messages of hate -- and that the shirts say, "HERITAGE...NOT HATE." Here's a large version, courtesy of Jodie Snider.

colby-snider-shirt.jpg

"They say that there is a lot of racism in this school," she says. "I've been here for ten years. I don't see it."

Snider says that incidents from years ago don't justify a ban today.

"I don't have a problem with the fact that they are banning something, but they need to have a legitimate, good reason to do it," she argues.

rip-colby-confederate-flag.jpg
Courtesy of Jodie Snider.
Car with confederate flag in honor of Colby.

When school officials blocked them from entering school with these shirts on, her younger son Collin, age fifteen, said, "'I'm not taking this shirt off today, not for you, not for anybody,'" she recalls, adding that officials took bumper stickers and flags off of some of their trucks as well.

Continue for more of our interview with Jodie Snider and the full response from Nixa School officials.

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83 comments
James Madison
James Madison

Marshall, no one alive today was a slave when the Confederate flag was flown in battle. The Confederate flag stands for more than slavery, if it ever stood for that. Over the years it has evolved as a symbol as a way of life, not plantation life, but slow southern life. The funny part is you can go back to the 70's and find some blacks wearing the confederate flag on their tee shirts. Sort of throws your idea that the flag stands for slavery for a loop. I cannot think of one person who wants to return to the days of slavery. That would include some truly racist individuals who preach segregation. So the notion that the flag is flown in support of slavery is simply false. It may invoke some feelings of ancestors being held as slaves, but throughout mankind's existence, slaves were made of others. Romans held slaves, do we call for the destruction of all things from ancient Rome? Is the Roman Colosseum a symbol of slavery and needed to be destroyed? Are not modern stadiums just a symbol of that Roman structure? Should all stadiums be torn down, too? Are my ancestors less important than yours or others?

James Madison
James Madison

We must not allow those who are easily offended make the rules. Freedom is too important. This goes back to the old saying, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it." What message are we teaching young people today? It is not freedom. Families ought to be the ones teaching manners and civility, not schools. I am offended by those who are offended.

Marshall Patrick
Marshall Patrick

Esteban, my heart knows how painful the suffering was for slaves. It has got to be the worst thing in history, man has ever done to other humans. Your lmao shows who YOU are.

Paul Burrows
Paul Burrows

Let's inform the public. That flag in the photo is not the Confederate flag....it's the battle flag of Northern Virginia. The Confederate Flag is a different-looking flag.

Christopher Miguel Angel-Evil Harrison
Christopher Miguel Angel-Evil Harrison

The school has a clear responsibility to minimize disruptions of their primary function, education. I'm not aware of any case where a dress code designed to minimize distraction and disruption has been held as a First Amendment violation. This is a small but loud group of people claiming that requiring them to GIVE the same respect they're required to GET is somehow oppressing them. Also, how exactly is wearing an offensive, racist, symbol a memorial to the young man they're claiming to honor? What makes a generally unacceptable symbol appropriate for this one use? I can't picture what it is, but maybe there IS a valid reason for an exception - I've not seen a story yet that explains it.

John Karvas
John Karvas

MO was a slave state but it was a battleground state. St. Louis was union and fought against the more rural parts until the war was over.

Brianne Victor Gerzevske
Brianne Victor Gerzevske

Agreed. In fact, was MO ever a part of the Confederacy??? Whose heritage are they preserving???

Anne Logue
Anne Logue

There are some things that are just too far into hate. Besides it is a design and hardly promoting anyone's rights.

Steven Simpson-Black
Steven Simpson-Black

Hey, just do what MODOT did: rename the school Rosa Parks Memorial School.

Paul Garrett Covey
Paul Garrett Covey

Everyone just needs to hush and remove the hurt from their butt.

Human
Human

The Confederate flag represents, literally, armed rebellion against the United States. As such, as a tattoo, it is considered "extremist" just as any gang-related symbology.


I don't see a problem with the school banning an image that is representing open armed conflict against the nation.  I also don't see a problem with schools banning gang imagery either.

Marshall Patrick
Marshall Patrick

people who fly that flag must not know how it feels to be a slave.............maybe if they were treated as slaves they might think twice before flying the REBEL flag.

Person
Person

Hey Jews, don't you know the swastika is actually just an old Hindu symbol? So what if it LARGELY REPRESENTS a horrible event in human history? Get over yourselves! Why so sensitive?!

How about a little less Southern Pride and a little more Southern Humility for a change. Jesus H. Christ...

artoakheart
artoakheart

"Quoting her son and mentioning the fact that "It's okay to be gay" shirts are allowed in schools, she adds, "Why do I have to be tolerant of everyone else's view and no one has to be tolerant of mine?""

Oh right! Everyone remembers when the pro-gay forces committed treason against the country, beat & murdered black people, and harassed minorities all over Nixa. Don't you remember that? No? Okay, maybe Mom is an ignorant racist POS instead. My bad.

Takeshi_Kovacs
Takeshi_Kovacs

i'm still trying to figure out when jason aldean became some sort of country music superhero..

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Just like the idiot urban blacks who wear sagging pants I say let these pro southern 'heritage' folks flaunt their symbols. All it does is help a bunch of knuckle dragging hillbillies self identify so the rest of us know for a fact when there is an idiot in our midst.

RickLowerboy
RickLowerboy

Let's accept the argument that the Confederate flags (the most popular of which is the big red Confederate Navy Jack, though the official Confederate flag was mostly white) aren't about racism....okay. That can make sense. 


But it's still a flag that celebrates an armed insurrection against the United States government. I may be proud of my southern heritage, but I'm not going to be an apologist for a symbol of treason!


As far as I'm concerned, anyone who wears or displays that flag under the auspices of"pride and heritage!" is an enemy of the state.

fordhunter61
fordhunter61

Suggested reading.. magazine called civil war. Unbiased facts! BTW... my 15 year old has learned more about the civil war this past year by doing research on his own than the school ever dreamt of teaching him. Again, our schools here in Nixa are missing the mark on this one, they had the perfect opportunity yo reach and they blew it

jonnydoh1
jonnydoh1

Well, you can look at it another way:  The swastika was traditionally used as a symbol of peace in Asian cultures, you can see it prominently displayed across Buddhist decorations even today.  However, as its use was perverted in recent memory by the Germans in World War 2, its use in every day fashion is an ugly reminder of horrific acts on innocent lives-- to say nothing that it's also disrespectful to those who suffered.  

 The Confederate Flag carries similar weight to African Americans and their ancestors, who were forced to work under a regime that cared little of their personal lives and treated them as mere objects to be bought, sold and disposed of in a manner we might treat livestock.  The Confederate flag might represent to one person the romantic notion of a "Gone with the Wind" type of setting, but they ignore the injustices that were prevalent in that same setting and insult those whose ancestors suffered for it.  

Those who support the Confederate flag are only seeing what they want to see.  They ignore the disgusting foundation it was built on.  

georgiaflagger
georgiaflagger

I have seen actual pictures that Nixa High School flies the flag of slavery on it's property!

Yes, the Red, White and Blue flag that has stars and bars, the flag that flew over slavery. The flag that represents the slave nation that had slavery under it's colors for 89 years, and in America since 1620.

The Flag that saw the genocide of millions of Native Americans, slaughtered by an American Government that treated the Indian no better than a Doctor would treat an infection - a civilization to be exterminated.

The Flag that flew over the intentional syphilis infection of innocent black men, the internment camps of innocent Japanese citizens, the murder of innocent women and children in Waco Texas and Ruby Ridge.

The Flag that flies proudly over the over 55,000,000 murdered innocent unborn children via abortion.

Yes, Nixa High School flies the United States Flag, and has the nerve to peel stickers off vehicles and bans memorial shirts because of something that happened 20 years ago....

Phil Van Geison
Phil Van Geison

I can wear a malcum x hat, the flag its self- burn it and that's ok , but don't be proud yor white. I don't have any guilt for anything that was done over 150 yrs.

Stephen Natoli
Stephen Natoli

You all sound as bad as those that bash gay's for their choice to wave rainbow flags and have equality signs as Facebook photos.

georgiaflagger
georgiaflagger

So, Nixa High refuses to allow grieving family and friends to honor their friend/former student. They instead choose to openly hold onto something that happened, by their own admission, 20 years ago circa 1993. Well, I am assuming those wrongdoers have long since left the school system. Correct?

 I would encourage the good people behind the memorializing to Colby Snider to stand tall and proud, Let neither the Nixa school system nor bigots in the media tear down Colby's memory nor the Confederate flag he so loved. Keep it flying high and proud!

weirami
weirami

Guns cause violence crime, keyboards cause typos, and flags cause racism.  I suppose preventing a racist from wearing a flag on his shirt will make him a liberal, and putting a t-shirt with a flag on liberal will make him a skinhead.

JohnDeWitt
JohnDeWitt

The Confederate Battle Flag on the shirt doesn't have the correct number of stars - and it wasn't the only flag flown in the War for Southern Independence (and Missouri's right to self-determination). Saying that, I support these students who are not only showing support for their friend, but willing to stand up for the principals of liberty and Independence. If they really wanted to wear a symbol of hate, they would wear the U.S. Imperial flag on their shirts, as millions have been bulldozed over in the Federal Government's mad quest for power, manifest destiny, and egalitarian tyranny.  Try asking the Southern people whose civilization was nearly destroyed, the Native Americans, millions of aborted babies, and the conquest of peoples around the world in the so-called spread of "Democracy". Deo Vindice.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Fenton Chrysler plant is where the term originated in terms of meaning something negative, folks from Indiana were scabs during a strike... I believe this is pretty much true.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Awesome, ad-hominem attacks... I'm giddy... It's thinking and productive work that brought about all that computing... I find personal attacks usually encompass the life of the person making the attack... So, unlike you, I'll ask a prudent question.... Were you a meth addict, a little C*nt, picked on all your life, and do you find your ideas mute points? Furthermore, I've been using my mind... As evidence, I enter this entire thread. Going to be busy for a little while, but I'll be back... Try really hard in the meantime.... And, you might come up with something besides exposing your own lack of self-esteem.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Gern, this coming from a person who personally finds value in a statement from Hitler. From your page, and I quote, " Personally I do not like Hitler but it's a good proverb: "How lucky for those in power that people don't think."" END QUOTE.... You value non-thinking I take it? So, Gern, while those of us here may not agree, we are at the least active thinking people discussing ideas that matter. But, like your political and religious affiliation states: "pointless" and "equally pointless".... Well, I wonder if your only purpose was to be an internet troll... In which case I suggest you stand down.... Because, on the interwebz, I eat trolls. Check the background image of my page, if you have any doubt. Otherwise, you've been warned.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

I don't know if you're from Missouri... However, we've designated the word 'hoosier' (and all its spelling variations) to mean 'white trash'. Honestly, I'm not certain when or how this word began being used this way... However, it's a word used by many Missourian's, myself included:)

GreyKatt
GreyKatt

It's amazing, The Bible supports in scripture some of the same ideals that the flag represents. Yet its not  viewed as an item of hatred..  Yay for the Double standards folks..

if you can denounce the flag , you have to denounce the bible. You can agree both support a history of slavery, discrimination and other discretions, despite their best interest. These things come in all forms, stop pretending one's ok and the others aren't.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Michael Allen, that's interesting that you think 40-50 years ago, long... From Wiki:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964 In reference to the civil rights act, -"The bill came before the full Senate for debate on March 30, 1964 and the "Southern Bloc" of 18 southern Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator led by Richard Russell (D-GA) launched a filibuster to prevent its passage.[10] Said Russell: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states."[11] The most fervent opposition to the bill came from Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC): "This so-called Civil Rights Proposals, which the President has sent to Capitol Hill for enactment into law, are unconstitutional, unnecessary, unwise and extend beyond the realm of reason. This is the worst civil-rights package ever presented to the Congress and is reminiscent of the Reconstruction proposals and actions of the radical Republican Congress."[12] I think you might wanna rethink your position.

DoucheMcGee
DoucheMcGee topcommenter

I'm curious why the flag is even on the memorial shirt. I can understand making shirts to memorialize him, but it seems out of place to have that flag on it.

asher_michael
asher_michael

Try being a white kid in a black school. The only difference is the media doesn't care about that kind of racism. I taught at two predominately black school and the level of racism was unlike anything you could ever imagine. I was floored by the blatant racism. Black students terrorized other non-black students both physically and emotionally on a daily basis. Other teachers were just as racist. Trust me, this is not only a white issue.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Karen, today, neither party would accept Lincoln. The left doesn't recognize individual rights (they create special rights for every group they can come up with), and the right no longer has a moral ground for defending individual rights (after giving up its roots), since they've adopted mysticism as a foundation, and in effect are now a less consistent version of the left. If Abraham Lincoln lived today (Or most of our founders for that matter), he'd likely be a Libertarian... Republicans, traditionally, were for very limited central gov't and strict interpretation of the constitution... Again, just saying. I would also add the fact that this country is on the brink of Civil War. Look around you... Do you feel free?

Michael Allen
Michael Allen

People need to stop dredging that up. The parties flipped at the turn of the century. The Republican Party of the 1850s has been the Democratic Party ever since.

Karen Bello Becker
Karen Bello Becker

Casey... that was then - this is now. The 21st century Republican Party would NEVER accept Lincoln.

Chris Barrett
Chris Barrett

Well, if it's just about being southern (Guess they are from Missour-uh and not Missouri) then why don't we see all those black Southerners sporting the stars and bars?

raggttop91
raggttop91

@Christopher Miguel Angel-Evil Harrison  Agreed. Though I dont have a dog in this fight, all the attention this has garnered has already been a disruption. Thats grounds for the school to not allow it. Because ONE group doesnt think it stands for racism, that doesnt change the general consensus of how its viewed. I mean seriously. Why all of this? The guy is 17 years old. He probably doesnt even know any Southern History. Ive seen a post saying that this is a tribute to a way of life. You must also understand that other folks attribute something else to that very same flag. Because you dont feel how they do, doesnt mean that you should fly it. Its in poor taste, in my opinion. They could have all worn cowboy boots, or gotten Gen Lee tattoos. Theres just too many non-devisive ways to display your affection. Why would anyone choose the most devisive way possible, to celebrate this guys life? Different groups feel differently about the confederate battle flag. Thats simply not going to change. Theres been hundreds of flags in US history, but yet the most devisive flags are being flown " in memory" of a young man. A 17 year old kid I would think, could appreciate the "Dont Tread on me" Flag more than a battle flag. Teenagers typically dont want their liberties treaded on and are in that crazy teen mode where they are invincible. Flying that flag would have made more sense, logically. So why want it flown instead? A battle flag was. This kid was never in battle and as a retired soldier, I can tell you that he cant appreciate that way of life until he lives it. This is just devisive for person reasons. Nothing here really makes much sense.

enigma13
enigma13

@RickLowerboy The stars and stripes represents armed rebellion against the British, but the UK and Canada don't cry too loud when we fly it on their turf. Let the South keep its history however it likes. 

Until we see Southern states arming up and leaving the Union again (which is extremely unlikely), people who fly Dixie flag are not enemies of the state. Do not call our neighbors and countrymen enemies.

artoakheart
artoakheart

@georgiaflagger 

You are ignoring the part of the article where they stated they've had incidents ever since, including this same school year. Go ahead and keep making excuses for your racism. We're watching.

frink1970
frink1970

@GreyKatt The bible is the nonsensical fireside ramblings of ancient goat herders. It is as idiotic as the confederacy.

mrsnugglepuss
mrsnugglepuss

The bible is full of hate! Why dont you try reading it sometime :D

Corbow6
Corbow6

@GreyKatt  - Uh, yes it is. Plenty of people denounce the bible for that very reason considering it advocates slavery, spousal abuse towards woman, and a promotion of war when someone doesn't agree with the Christian ideology. 

mrsnugglepuss
mrsnugglepuss

You're right, it's awful and it does happen both ways. However black people have been traditionally treated worse than white people in the USA since the country was founded which is why people are more vocal about it.

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