*Twenty-one students at a Virginia high school were suspended on Thursday after arriving to school wearing clothing emblazoned with the Confederate flag in violation of school policy.
The ban at Christiansburg High School in southwestern Virginia’s Montgomery County was put in place after racially charged incidents at the school. Students are now forbidden from displaying the battle flag on their clothing or vehicles, school spokeswoman Brenda Drake said.
“Incidents of racial tension at CHS support the continued prohibition of the Confederate flag in the building,” Drake said in a statement. “We are not issuing a judgment on the flag, but know that not allowing it at CHS supports a peaceful educational environment.”
Twenty-four students arrived wearing clothing bearing the Confederate symbol, but three agreed to change and were allowed into class, Drake said.
Four students received in-school suspensions after declining to adhere to the dress code, and 15 students received one-day suspensions. Two others were suspended for a longer period for using threatening or abusive language, she said.
The school has about 1,000 students.
Display of the Confederate flag has been a contentious issue in Virginia and other parts of the South since a white gunman allegedly killed nine black worshipers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from state-issued license plates.
A circuit court judge in Virginia’s Patrick County removed a portrait of a Confederate general from the courtroom in August.
“Confederate symbols are, simply put, offensive to African-Americans,” the judge, Martin Clark, said in a statement about the portrait.
Below, several Christiansburg High students talk about the suspension to WDBJ7: