Three West Brunswick High students face misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident involving the display of a Confederate flag on campus earlier this week.
Two teenagers, ages 16 and 17, were named on two separate criminal summons for disorderly campus. The summons were filed March 9, the day after a disruption arose over the flag during a lunch period. A third disorderly conduct charge was filed March 10 against a 17-year-old.
Brunswick County school district spokeswoman Jessica Swencki said five students were involved in the incident and confirmed that one of them revealed the flag, which he wore at one point as a cape.
The summons, all filed by the school’s resource officer, Deputy A. Stout, claims the 17-year-old hung the Confederate flag in the cafeteria and took photos of students standing with the flag, while the 16-year-old student allegedly waved the Confederate flag in the school’s courtyard.
In a separate but related incident that occurred the next day, the 18-year-old student was charged with disorderly conduct for standing on top of a cafeteria table and chanting. A spokeswoman with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the incident was in reaction to the one involving the Confederate flag.
Acknowledging the flag, oft viewed as a symbol of racism, “evokes strong emotions,” Swencki noted that this kind of behavior was not common at West Brunswick.
But she said it did cause concern among some parents, students and the community surrounding the Shallotte school.
To address that concern, West Brunswick principal Brock Ahrens delivered a message to the school Thursday morning that this singular incident “does not define” the school.
“With your help our school has worked very hard to build a culture of unity, tolerance and civility. We must continue to work together,” Ahrens said. “This incident should bring our communities together, not to perpetuate a problem but to engage in civil conversations about solutions to the larger societal issues our children are grappling with. These issues simply cannot be resolved through our public schools.”
All three students served with the summons are scheduled to appear in court on April 7.
Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.