To the editor: In the abstract, The Times’ views on freedom of expression in the nation’s high schools seem sensible. But on the ground in South Carolina, it may make sense for a school district to bar the wearing of Confederate flag apparel. (“Should students be allowed to wear Confederate flag clothing?,” editorial, Aug. 20)
Charleston County, third largest among the state’s 46 counties, suffered a horrific massacre of nine black people in June by a deranged white youth who publicly idolized the Confederate flag. The county’s population includes a black minority of about 35% and a white majority of about 60%
With memories of the massacre so fresh, what could go wrong with Charleston’s white students flaunting Confederate-flag attire in the faces of their black peers?
The Charleston school officials’ preemptive stance may not perfectly square with 1st Amendment niceties. But it’s crucial that they maintain order and safety among their callow charges. Officials need the legal latitude to impose, as The Times puts it, better-safe-than-sorry measures.
Christine Hagel, Orcutt, Calif.