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'Don't Tread on Me' image considered 'racial harassment'? Catholic school allegedly orders conservative students to nix Gadsden flag


'Students should have the freedom to express their beliefs and values'

Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

Conservative students at a Catholic high school in California said the administration ordered them to remove the image of the Gadsden flag from a promotional video as the flag could be considered "racial harassment," Young America's Foundation reported.

What are the details?

The organization said it obtained an email from Chris Walter — Loyola High School's director of student activities — to a conservative student that said "you will have to remove the Don't Tread on Me image" and cited an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case.

YAF said Walter claimed the EEOC ruled that displaying the Gadsden flag in the workplace "could be considered racial harassment, depending on the circumstances" — and the organization said such a claim is "blatantly false."

More from Young America's Foundation:

The EEOC case he is citing clearly states that "it would have been premature and inappropriate for EEOC to determine, one way or the other, the merits of the U.S. Postal Service's argument that the Gadsden Flag and its slogan do not have any racial connotations whatsoever," and that "EEOC's decision simply ordered the agency – the U.S. Postal Service – to investigate the allegations. EEOC's decision made no factual or legal determination on whether discrimination actually occurred."

YAF said it reached out to Loyola High School but did not receive a response in time for publication.

History teachers there ought to know that the symbol on the flag was created by Christopher Gadsden — a general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War — and gained favor among colonists who wanted independence from Great Britain.

What did the student in question have to say?

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the student who reported the alleged incident to YAF's Campus Bias Tip Line told the organization that the "Don't Tread on Me" crackdown is frustrating.

"This is just a small example of the different struggles conservative students go through while in school," the student told YAF. "Students should have the freedom to express their beliefs and values in a school environment without having to fear the repercussion that can arise."

YAF went further and characterized the mandate to the conservative students as "bullying" in an effort to "silence speech" that isn't in line with what the school says is acceptable.

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