BUDA, Texas (AP) — A Central Texas school board voted Monday to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag on district property or at district-sponsored events.
Hays board members, on a 5-2 vote, amended the student code of conduct to ban the flag, which formerly was displayed with the Hays High School Rebel mascot. The ban also covers any imagery deemed to be racially hostile, offensive or intolerant.
The action comes after two students were accused of writing racial slurs and urinating on the door of a black teacher's classroom in May at Hays High. The school is in Buda, 15 miles south of Austin.
Dissenting from the flag ban were trustees Shaun Bosar and Marty Kanetzky. The vote came after a discussion that lasted nearly an hour. Departing Superintendent Jeremy Lyon had recommended banning the flag, which has long been waved from the stands at Rebels football games.
The proposed change drew opposition from some. Cyndie Holmes told trustees Monday that her son, a Hays junior, was pulled from class for displaying a Confederate battle flag sticker on his car.
"Can I not be proud of my Southern heritage?" Holmes asked, according to the Austin American-Statesman. She suggested the board might be transgressing on students' free-speech rights.
Board president Willie Tenorio Jr., however, pointed out that there had been uneven enforcement in allowing the flag on campus.
The newspaper said another trustee, Robert Limon, added: "Principals were making policy when it should be the board."
In October, the Hays board decided to keep "Dixie" as the school fight song — for now. The Confederate anthem has been known to evoke the traditions of proud state and region, but also slavery and prejudice.