Student wears Confederate flag to school, lands in principal’s office
MISSOULA, Mont. —
Friday was Hellgate High School’s Homecoming day. Students were encouraged to wear red and gold, the school’s colors, to show school spirit.
Wyatt Patterson, a junior at Hellgate High, wore the confederate and Don’t Tread on Me flags to school as his red and gold.
Patterson says during sixth period he was called to the office. The principal informed him that he could keep the Don’t Tread on Me flag on but that he would have to remove the Confederate flag if he wanted to return to class.
Judson Miller, the school’s principal says he received complaints from students and staff about the flag. But he says he did not punish Patterson for wearing the flag.
"It's not a discipline event. Literally it's a dress code issue. It's an educational moment…I'm responsible for the entire building of 1200 students and I just need everyone to feel comfortable and safe at school," said Miller.
Patterson says he feels the flag represents his heritage.
"You shouldn't feel uncomfortable about something you don't know anything about…It's my right. It's a symbol of freedom. I can do it if I want,” said Patterson.
The Confederate flag has sparked a national debate in recent years. Just a few months ago the principal of Big Sky High School sent an email to parents stating that the Confederate flag is disruptive to the education environment.