COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- There is a viral petition on Change.org that is calling for the banning of the confederate flags in classrooms. The petition now has over 24,000 signatures and is asking for a response from superintendent J. Thomas Gregory of Academy School District 20.
According to the petition, Hailey Schramm, a substitute teacher for Academy School District 20, says she came across someone who had a confederate flag on display in her classroom. Schramm adds, "I made the district and the principal aware of the situation, and neither had a problem with her displaying it for "educational purposes."
Schramm said, "In short, it is not the flag that is the problem but the symbolism behind it. The leader of the confederate army believed that whites are superior to Black Americans and said as much."
The Change.org petition has amassed 24,658 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
The substitute teacher concludes, "Classrooms are meant to be a safe space for all students, and it cannot be a safe space if a modern-day symbol of hate is on display." She hopes that the confederate flags are banned in classrooms, similar to how New York has eliminated the use of confederate flags to be bought, sold, or displayed on state property.
In an email sent to parents Wednesday evening, D20 said they looked into why the flag was hung up to understand its full context.
According to D20, the flag was part of a lesson.
We learned the flag was displayed as part of an 8th grade American History from Revolution to Reconstruction course. Numerous flags were displayed as the class learned about periods in American history. At the close of the unit, the class removed the flags and examined each flag’s historical context. Specific to the Confederate Flag, the class also discussed what the battle flag signified and how today, in 2021, the flag is viewed as a symbol of hate. The flag, along with others, are no longer on display as the unit of study has concluded.
We believe our classrooms are spaces for safe, supported dialogue around historical and current events. We are grateful for the open conversations with all involved. These conversations will continue, and we will engage in further learning to push our district forward to make sure all in our school communities feel safe and supported.Superintendent Tom Gregory of Academy School District 20
The email went on to say D20 has policies about flag displays, selection of instructional materials, and teaching controversial issues and it does not appear district policies were violated with the Confederate Flag being hung.
Gregory noted the district formed a DEI Task Force to conduct an equity audit of the district, and that this situation highlights the need for such a Task Force.