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Rally in Mass. backs principal opposed to confederate flags in class

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — Students at a Massachusetts middle school rallied Wednesday in support of their principal, who has faced backlash for asking other students to stop displaying Confederate flags in class.

About 200 students, teachers and other community members gathered outside JFK Middle School in Northampton in support of Principal Desmond Caldwell. They held signs saying “Hate has no home in our school” and “Yes there is racism here,” The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

The rally came after the creation of a Facebook page called “JFK White Student Union." The page displays Confederate flag images and in a post, called Caldwell an “anti-American tyrant” who was trying to “erode our constitutional rights," the newspaper reported.

School Superintendent John Provost said school officials have contacted police, who are looking into the matter.

Caldwell, who is Black, asked students in a video earlier this month to stop wearing or displaying Confederate flags during virtual classes because it made other students feel unsafe.

“I make this request not to step on your rights, but to help create a safer and less distracting learning environment," he said in his message. "I hope everyone realizes that flag is hurtful and controversial at the very least to so many people.”

 

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