Outrage over student’s Confederate flag face mask has parents demanding action

Missouri

OAKVILLE, MO. – A parent tells Fox 2 that a student showed up to school wearing a Confederate flag mask and was allowed to continue through his school day. It was only after students started texting their parents, and parents started calling the school, that administrators started looking into it.  

A video posted on social media shows the white male student wearing the mask inside a classroom.   

“What type of message are you sending to my child by allowing another child to sit in the classroom with this mask on,” parent, Tamica Harding, said. 

Harding is African American.   Her daughter was in a 4th period class with the student wearing the mask.  She was hurt, frightened, and intimidated.   

Harding told Fox 2 she called the school but two hours passed before she got a response. When an investigation was launched, the student wearing the mask had already left the building for an off-campus program, according to school officials.   

School principal, Tamara Sunkett, an African American woman, sent out the following email to parents: 

“Dear Tigers,  

Yesterday, we received a phone call from one of our parents concerned about a student wearing a confederate flag face covering. One of our assistant principals investigated and found the student had already left campus for the day.   

I want each and every one of our students to know that this is not a situation we take lightly.  

Confederate symbols are steeped in racism. This symbol and any such symbols of disrespect are offensive to our students and our staff and infringe upon our belief that everyone deserves the right to feel safe and respected in our school communities.  

I want to let our students know the matter has been addressed. We have made it quite clear that clothing that creates a disruption, including the confederate flag, is not allowed on our campus.  

Lastly, I want to remind you of who we are as OHS Tigers! This is our house and we will remain unwaveringly committed to being a school of Character where everyone is valued and respected.

Love,  

Principal Sunkett” 

Mehlville Schools superintendent, Chris Gaines, a white man, issued the following statement:  

“Yesterday, Oakville High School principals received a phone call from a parent concerned about a student wearing a confederate flag face covering. When an administrator began investigating, he found the student had already left campus for the day. This is not a situation we take lightly. Confederate symbols are steeped in racism. This and any such symbols of disrespect are offensive to students and staff and infringe upon our belief that everyone deserves the right to feel safe and respected in our school communities. The matter has been addressed with the student and the student’s family. When the student returns to campus, he will not be allowed to wear the confederate flag face mask. Our dress codedoes not support clothing items that create a disruption on our campus.”    

Parents beyond the school district joined the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League in saying that’s not enough.    

“That’s very unacceptable man,” said Bobby Allford, the parent of a private school student.  “There’s no tolerance for that right now, especially in times like this.” 

“Do they let you wear swastikas?” asked Oakville parent, Michael Munie.  “Everybody knows that you don’t do that, too.  (This is) almost the same thing.” 

“It’s about many layers and many opportunities and many candid and potentially uncomfortable conversations so that this stuff doesn’t happen,” said Karen Aroesty of the ADL.   “(And) when it does … that people don’t let hours go by until they have to run to somebody potentially outside of school for help in advocating against it.” 

School and district officials declined interviews.  A district spokeswoman said the lack of response by teachers remained under investigation and would be addressed as a personnel matter.  

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News