A New Jersey high school student has been suspended after he refused to take down a Confederate flag he had put on his truck.
According to News 12, Gregory Vied, a 17-year-old student at Steinert High School in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, was suspended for flying the flag even though his truck was in the parking lot.
Vied told school administrators that while he understands the history of the flag, he sees it as a representation of Southern pride and his connection to his relatives who continue to live in the south. “Them trying to make me take it down is unconstitutional,” Vied told reporters.
Vied has found an unlikely supporter in the American Civil Liberties Union. A spokesperson from the ACLU told News 12 that the student was right and suspending him for not taking the flag down is infringing on his freedom of expression.
ACLU Legal Director Ed Barocas told reporters that “As the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear, students’ rights don’t end at the school house gates. It also doesn’t end in the school parking lot.”
The ACLU intervened, sending a letter to the principal demanding that school officials first had to prove that Vied’s banned expression was legitimately disruptive. Unable to do that, school officials were forced to cut Vied’s suspension from three days to one.
In support of Vied, several of his friends are now flying the Confederate flag on their own cars and trucks and no more suspensions have been given out.
The district superintendent has thus far refused to comment but it appears that there are a lot more Confederate flags in the Steinert High School parking lot as a result of the school’s overpolicing of speech.