Confederate flag sweater stirs up debate at Langlade Co. school - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Confederate flag sweater stirs up debate at Langlade Co. school

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A confederate flag sweater has sparked debate in a Langlade County school district.

Some parents are voicing their concerns after a student was seen in the sweater at the Elcho High School. The building is shared by all grade levels K-12.

"I think this is volatile," said parent Melissa Markgraf. "Outside of the violation of the dress code not being enforced I do feel there's hate behind the confederate flag."

A student at the school who didn't want to be named said she saw the student wearing the sweater on Monday and she went to the principal to say it made her uncomfortable. She said she thinks the sweater is a violation of the school's dress code because it disrupts the learning process within the classroom.

"Through the dress code there was a good reason to ask for it not be allowed in the school because it's distracting," said Markgraf.

The student who went to the principal said it's not the first time that sweater has been worn but it's the first time she's spoken up. Several parents said they're frustrated that the school hasn't done anything.

"It's not their position to get involved in politics, and I highly respect that but we need to work together as a community to help educate our students," said Markgraf.

Not all parents in the Elcho area have a problem with the sweater, several said they didn't see anything wrong with it.

"It really doesn't bother me at all, it might be a part of their background, they might have relocated up here, maybe not them directly but it could be a family thing," said parent Nigel Johnson. "Either way it doesn't bother me."

We reached out to the school district, they said that they're looking into it but that they're moving cautiously because there's a balancing test between the rights of free speech and the importance of the learning process. They also said they didn't want to take any spur of the moment action.

Parents who have gone to the school district on the matter said they just want to come together as a community and address the issue.

"We want our children to be able to go into multi cultural environments and know how to behave appropriately," said Markgraf.

Parents on both sides of the issue said education on the confederate flag is important for the students to learn.

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