DICKSON COUNTY SCHOOLS DROP FLAG BAN
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The Southern Legal Resource Center Heritage Update
In what may have been one of the least-heralded policy reversals of the Southern Culture War, Dickson County, Tennessee, public schools have quietly abandoned their ban on campus displays of Confederate symbols.
The lifting of the ban climaxed a chain of events that began in October of 2006, when the SLRC wrote a demand letter to the school board’s attorney on behalf of a Sons of Confederate Veterans member whose son had been adversely affected. The attorney never replied and it was later discovered that the school system had changed attorneys. On August 17 of this year, Knoxville Attorney and SLRC Board member Van R. Irion contacted the school board on behalf of the student and his parents, citing viewpoint discrimination and calling the Board’s attention to pending lawsuits on similar grounds in Anderson and Blount Counties in Tennessee. On September 6, the student’s father contacted Irion to say that the ban had been lifted, without fanfare.
“When I contacted the school board I made sure they understood the implications of those Blount and Anderson County cases,” said Irion, who is prosecuting both cases with the SLRC acting in an advisory capacity.
“This is a clear-cut and very important victory,” Irion said. “Too often people get preoccupied with just the heritage cases that end up in court, but when we can get the opposition to back down without even having to litigate, that’s even better. The SLRC has had several such victories lately and so have I,and that’s when you know the precedents are really starting to take hold. I’m very optimistic about the way things are starting to look. The important thing is to keep fighting.”
Irion noted that two schools in Knox County, Tennessee, have recently relaxed their dress codes so as to allow Confederate symbols.