Orange County Schools ban KKK, Confederate apparel

Confederate heritage supporters rallied in McCorkle Place to defend the statue of Silent Sam in 2015. At the time, the North Orange County NAACP wanted to get rid of the confederate flag in schools.

Update(8:16 p.m.): Hate-Free Schools Coalition member, Stacey Sewall, said the new dress code policy is a step in the right direction for Orange County School's and is interested if Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' Board will follow suit. 

"I'm saddened that it took loss of life in Charlottesville to convince the Board of what we've been saying all along," Sewall said in an email. "But I'm heartened that this change is now in place before the beginning of the new school year."

The school system announced it will ban students from wearing Confederate flags, swastikas and other designs and symbols associated with the KKK in the system's amended dress code.

The decision was made Monday night by the school system's Board of Education — and it comes after vigils were held across Orange County to stand with the community of Charlottesville, Virginia, in the wake of violent uprises from far-right organizations.

"The new policy gives our staff the permission to ensure that the learning environment in each of our schools and in each of our classrooms is free of intimidation and distraction with regards to dress and symbols of speech," said Todd Wirt, the school system's superintendent, in a Facebook post Monday night.

The policy additionally bans clothing with symbols meant to intimidate students on the basis of  race, national origin, gender and sexual orientation. 

The superintendent's Facebook post seems to be receiving mostly positive comments.

The discussion over whether to ban Confederate flags and associated clothing is not new to Orange County, and Wirt said he and the board have taken the debate seriously since it was first introduced by community members. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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