PLUM, PA (CNN) — A controversial fashion statement is causing tension at a Pennsylvania high school. One student has been suspended for wearing clothing featuring the Confederate flag.
“They basically told me I have to go home and there is a possibility I may be expelled for wearing my hoodie to school,” said Noah Leech.
Leech says he’s worn this hoodie to class dozens of times, but this week, it prompted complaints, leading to his dismissal from school Friday. He says the flag isn’t racist.
“Our bloodline comes from west Virginia,” Leech said. “They were helping move slaves from the south into the north under the Confederate flag so that’s what I stand for.”
Several students and parents, like Robert Williams, see it differently.
“I spoke with at least one parent who is considering transferring his kid out of the school district because he doesn’t feel like his child is safe,” Williams said.
The backlash towards the hoodie was met with its own backlash as cars draped with the flags cruised through campus.
“I had no problem with the kid wearing it at first because I never see the kid, the kid never affected me in any type of way, but it was today when more people decided to come to school wearing the Confederate flag,” student Desiree Ulmer said. “At that point it was like okay, this is getting a little too disrespectful for me.”
Tensions grew. Rumors flew of protests at Friday night’s basketball game. There was no conflict on the court as this was the only flag flying inside the gym.
“There’s absolutely no place for bigotry at all and it just doesn’t have a place,” said student Josh Kirkpatrick. “If you want to wear a flag, it should be the American flag.”
Leech says he won’t stop wearing his hoodie.
“I’m sorry that I’ve ever offended anyone about it but I’m going to continue to wear my hoodie and support what i support,” Leech said.
The school district has gone back and forth on this. Initially they said Confederate flag clothing was okay, but then decided to ban it. Possible protests on both sides are reportedly planned for Monday.