Clay High student asked to take down Confederate flag flying from truck
Robert Martin gives up school parking pass so he can keep flying flag
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay High School student gave up his right to park at the school so he can keep flying a Confederate flag from his truck.
Robert Martin had just gotten his pickup truck last week and decorated it with a large Confederate flag before driving to school Monday morning.
"First period, they called me out of class and asked me to take the flag down," Martin said.
He said someone complained to school administrators, who then asked him to take the flag down.
Martin argued there's a double standard at the school because students are allowed to wear shirts and belt buckles displaying the Confederate symbol.
"We can wear the rebel flag on our clothes to school and it's in front of kids in the classroom. My truck is sitting in the parking lot, therefore, I don't see it bothering anybody," he said.
When he got home from school Monday, Martin told his mom what had happened. She went to the school the next day, asking why the flag can be displayed in other ways at the school, but not on her son's truck.
"I said, 'Either they are allowed on school grounds or they're not. You can't have it both ways,'" said Erika Willis, Martin's mom. "I said, 'Right now, that is the kind of game you guys are playing.'"
Willis said she could not find any rule in the school handbook that her son was violating and she allowed him to keeping his flag flying.
Martin said the school threatened to suspend him, so he gave up his parking pass so he could keep flying the flag. He told News4Jax Tuesday that his friends and fellow students who support him have planned a rally for Friday.
"The flag's not racist at all. I'm not racist. I've got black people in my family," Martin said. "There are soldiers who stood behind that flag, and I'm going to stand behind that flag. That flag will not come down. It did not come down back in the day. It's not going to come down now."
The Clay County School District released the following statement to News4Jax Tuesday:
"The school district respects a student’s right to self-expression, however, our student code of conduct also states that the right to self-expression may not infringe upon the rights of others and cannot interfere with the orderly educational process. Students at Clay High School raised concerns about the display of the Confederate flag on campus. Therefore, to prevent any potential disruption to the school environment, the school’s administration followed policy by asking that the student displaying the flag on his vehicle remove it while on school grounds. Another reporter inquiring on the story was under the impression that the student received a referral for displaying the flag at school. That is not the case. Administrators have met with the student and his parents to reach a resolution that respects the rights of all students."
Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.