LENOIR, N.C. South Caldwell High School administrators have dropped a ban on T-shirts that show a Confederate flag, saying the issue has overshadowed learning.
About 25 students at the predominantly white school were sent home last week for wearing shirts that showed the Confederate battle flag after the emblem was banned beginning March 22.
Some students and parents protested, saying they and their children were merely expressing their Southern heritage.
The school also banned T-shirts with messages referring to freedom of expression when Principal Byron Jones became concerned about how those shirts related to the flag.
Caldwell County Superintendent Tom McNeel apologized to parents and teachers in a letter sent out on March 26.
“I regret that the Confederate Flag issue at South Caldwell High School has become the focal point of the school, rather than teaching and learning,” the letter read. “I regret that this past week has been filled with so much controversy, so many rumors and so much unrest.”
McNeel told the Hickory Daily Record he also was concerned that the ban might not have been legal. His letter said administrators would try to eliminate any racial disharmony among students through Human Relations councils at all the county’s schools.